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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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100.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
Aerial Photo. 1 1996 I $250,000 1998
State Plan 47 1997 I $250,000 1998
Basin Plan 30 1998 I $250,000 2000

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 feasibility study to determine the costs and methods of implementing a new water planning process for the state. This process will generate a descriptive plan for each of the seven major river basins, and will include a statewide, computer data base that can be updated as conditions change.

An additional $250,000 for the 1996-97 biennium was included in the WWDC standard operating budget and earmarked for aerial photography. WWDC elected to use these funds for aerial photography and irrigated lands mapping in the Bear and the Snake/Salt Basins. The Bear was selected for verification of early mapping projects, and the Snake/Salt was selected because no irrigated lands mapping had been completed for those basins. A portion of these funds was also contracted to the University of Wyoming Water Resources Data System for the statewide data inventory and other technical support of the feasibility study.

During 1997 and 1998, the WWDC conducted the feasibility study, which consisted of the following components:

  • Water Planning Team consisting of senior staff from the Water Development Commission, the State Engineer's Office and the Water Resources Data System at the University of Wyoming.

  • A scoping group consisting of representatives of state agencies and the University of Wyoming to advise the Planning Team and coordinate programs.

  • A state-wide water issues public opinion survey, with published results.

  • Regular newsletters and news releases to keep the public informed of water planning activities.

  • Presentations on water planning to water and resource interest groups statewide.

  • Contracts for aerial photography and irrigated lands mapping in two river basins - Snake/Salt and the Bear River.

  • Creation by the Water Resources Data System of a Statewide Data Inventory of water and related resources information.

  • Development and maintenance of a Water Planning Web Page, now accessed by an average of 7500 users per month.

  • Contract with a water resources engineering firm to complete an analysis of the costs and staff requirements for implementation of basin water planning.

  • Organization of a citizens' Basin Advisory Group in the Bear River Basin to test public participation methods and lay the groundwork for a plan in that basin.

  • Development of implementation recommendations and cost estimates.

  • Public Open Houses in each of the four water divisions to solicit public comment on the implementation recommendations.

The Commission recommends that the project be incorporated into the New Development Program at Level II with an appropriation of $1,435,000. Of this amount, $385,000 will be used for first year personnel costs that will be included in the standard operating budgets of the WWDC and the SEO in the next biennium. $1,050,000 is earmarked for private sector consultants to complete the basin plans in the Bear River Basin and the Green River Basin. The WWDC anticipates that appropriations for consultant services in the other five basins will be requested in 2000, 2001, and 2002.

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