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Wyoming Water Development Commission 
Harry C. LaBonde, Jr., PE, Director 
6920 Yellowtail Rd, Cheyenne, WY 82002 
Phone: 307-777-7626 

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101.PROJECT:State Water Plan
SPONSOR:State of Wyoming
PROGRAM:New Development
Purpose Chapter Session Account Appropriation Due Date
State Plan 1 1996 N/A N/A 1996
State Plan 47 1997 I $250,000 1998

Under existing legislation, the Wyoming Water Development Commission (WWDC) is responsible for water and land related resource planning for the State of Wyoming (WS 41-2-112). These water planning responsibilities are further defined and clarified in WS 41-2-108 through 110 and WS 42-2-114.

In 1996, the Wyoming Legislature directed the Water Development Commission and the State Engineer's Office (SEO) to develop a report for updating the state's Framework Water Plan, which was written in the early 1970's and published in 1973. WWDC and the SEO prepared and submitted a proposal to the Governor and the Select Water Committee in October of 1996. During the 1997 Legislative Session, $250,000 was appropriated from the Water Development Account #1 to enable the WWDC to conduct a water plan feasibility study. The purpose of this study is to determine the appropriate issues to be addressed by a new water planning process, and the costs associated with implementing a basin by basin, state-wide, computer-based water planning process with a data base that could be updated as conditions change.

During 1997, the WWDC conducted the first phase of the feasibility study, which focused on two important aspects of water planning: public involvement in the planning process, and evaluation of data available for planning purposes.

To facilitate coordination with state government, a scoping group was established representing various state agencies and the University of Wyoming. A contract was executed with the Wyoming Water Resource Center (WWRC)for staff and technical assistance. The WWRC in turn obtained the services of the Survey Research Center (SRC) to assist in the development of state-wide public participation in the feasibility study. With the input of the Scoping Group and the SRC, an issues identification questionnaire was developed. An initial mailing list of over 3,780 was created, and these individuals received a letter requesting their assistance in the water planning issue identification. Just over 1,775 people who responded to the initial letter, or who were nominated to participate, received a ninety-item questionnaire. A total of 1,399 completed questionnaires were returned and processed.

The results of the analysis of the responses was mailed to the 1,775 initial respondents in mid January, 1998. The analysis will be used to guide water planning activities in the second phase of the project, and will serve as the WWDC's required report of water planning activities to the 1998 session of the Legislature.

In addition to activities related to the questionnaire, the WWDC has distributed several news releases to the media and to interest group newsletters. A water plan newsletter detailing water planning activities was completed and mailed to 1,775 individuals in December of 1997. WWDC and WRC staff members gave presentations on the water planning process to a variety of organizations such as the Wyoming Stock Growers, Wool Growers, Water Development Association, Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts, Wyoming Association of Municipalities, the Wyoming Professional Engineers Association, the American Water Resources Association and others.

The second aspect of the first phase of the feasibility study also involved the WWRC. The Center was directed by the WWDC to develop an inventory of water and related land resource data. This inventory is underway, and will be completed in the first quarter of 1998.

The second phase of the feasibility study, scheduled for 1998, will include the preparation of a prototype basin plan in the Bear River basin of western Wyoming. A consulting firm with aerial mapping experience is currently under contract to acquire satellite imagery for use in updating irrigated lands mapping in the Wyoming portion of the Bear River basin. The first steps have been taken to establish a basin advisory group.

No legislative action is required.

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