Citizen    Business    Government    Visitor

Wyoming Water Development

The Wyoming Water Development Program was established in 1975 to promote the optimal development of the state's human, industrial, mineral, agricultural, water and recreational resources. In 1979 the Wyoming Water Development Commission (WWDC) was established to implement the water development program and conduct water and related resources planning. The commission is composed of 10 members appointed by the governor to represent the four state water divisions and the reservation. The Wyoming Water Development Office (WWDO) is staffed by 26 professional, legal, and support employees. The Wyoming Water Development Program receives funding from severance tax distributions. Water Development Account I is utilized for new development projects. Water Development Account II is used to fund the rehabilitation of water projects that have been in existence for 15 years or longer. Water Development Account III is used to fund dam and reservoir construction. The legislature has the opportunity to authorize additional funding for water development from the Budget Reserve Account.

Instream Flow (ISF) Program

In 1986, the legislature passed the instream flow law. This legislation placed the analysis of the state's instream flow right applications with the WWDC. This statutory responsibility includes filing the ISF applications, completing a hydrologic study to determine unappropriated applications and completing a hydrologic study to determine unappropriated flow and storage availabilities for the ISF filings.

Groundwater Exploration Grant Program

Municipalities, water districts, water and sewer districts, and service and improvement districts may apply for grant funding through this program for pursuing groundwater development. The WWDC provides a 75% matching grant, up to $400,000, for exploration of groundwater potential and drilling of exploratory wells.

River Basin Planning

In 1996 the legislature directed the Wyoming Water Development Office and the State Engineer's Office to prepare recommendations for updating the 1973 Wyoming Framework Water Plan. One year later a feasibility study was undertaken in the Bear River Basin. In 1999 the legislature approved the feasibility study recommendations and authorized the Bear and Green River Basin planning efforts. Basin Advisory Groups, composed of citizens in the basin, provide local input in the process. The Bear, Green, Northeast, Powder/Tongue, Wind/Bighorn Snake/Salt, and the Platte River Basin plans have been completed. The Framework Water Plan is currently being prepared.

Project Planning

Water development projects are broken down into three levels. Project planning is performed in Levels I and II, and project construction is performed in Level III. Level I studies carry out necessary reconnaissance work, while Level II studies determine a project's feasibility. Levels I and II are 100% grant funded. Projects originate with sponsoring entities and come to the WWDC through applications. Applications for new projects must be received by August 15th of each year.

Project Construction

The Wyoming legislature must authorize each project and approve funding before a project proceeds. When Level III construction funding is authorized, the WWDO, with the project sponsor, establishes legal documentation required to make the state funds available, and ensures that the project constructed complies with the description, intent, and budget as specified in the enabling legislation. Commission policy allows for grants of 66% of the eligible portions of new development and rehabilitation projects. The remainder of funding for eligible portions can be loaned at 4%. Sponsors may choose to fund the loan portion from other sources.

Construction of Twin Lakes Dam

Constuction of Twin Lakes Dam


Michael K Purcell, P.E. Director
Susan Good, Admin/Fiscal Manager
Janet Belmonte, Administrative Specialist
Norma Coulson, Fiscal Specialist
Margaret Haberkorn, Fiscal Technician
Jon Wade, P.G., Deputy Director - Planning
Chris Abernathy, Planning consultant
Kevin J. Boyce, P.G., Planning Consultant
Bruce Brinkman, Planning Consultant
Ron Vore, Planning Consultant
Phil Ogle, Deputy Director - River Basin Planning
Barry B. Lawrence, River Basin Planner
Jodie Pavlica, P.E., Planning/Construction Manager
Chace Tavelli, P.E., Project Manager
Vicki S. Winders, Outreach Coordinator
Lawrence M. Besson, P.E., Deputy Director - Dam & Reservoir
Jason Mead, P.E., Planning Consultant
Steve Muth, Planning Consultant
Brian Smith, Dam Technician
David L. Zelenka, P.E., Deputy Director - Construction
Dale Anderson, P.E., Engineering Consultant
Bryan Clerkin, P.E., Engineering Consultant
Ted Coyer, P.E., Engineering Consultant
Richard Cripe, P.E., Engineering Consultant
Mike Hackett, P.E., Engineering Consultant
Wade Verplancke, P.E., Engineering Consultant

Construction of Tie Hack Dam

Wyoming Water Development Commissioners

A Lee Arrington, Division III
William Bensel, Division II
Dan S Budd, Division IV
Mitchel Cottenoir, Tribal Rep.
Floyd R Field, Division I
Dick Geving, Division III
George Jost, Division IV
Anne MacKinnon, Division I
James M Wilson, Member-at-large
Robert E Yemington, Division II

Wyoming Water Development Commission Home Page | Search the WWDC Website