On August 23, 1990, Governor Sullivan requested the WWDC to use its
resources to define and evaluate potential solutions to the problems facing
the non-Indian water users. The WWDC concluded that regardless of the
outcome of the litigation/negotiation, the non-Indian irrigators will have
to be more water efficient. Therefore, the WWDC entered into an agreement
with the Bureau of Reclamation to conduct rehabilitation/water use efficiency
analyses throughout the basin. The Bureau of Reclamation has entered into
agreements with the Soil Conservation Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs,
and the tribes to do portions of the study.
WWDC conducted assessments of the LeClair and Riverton Valley Irrigation
Districts. WWDC has also mapped the actual irrigated land in the basin.
The Bureau of Reclamation has prepared evaluations of the Midvale and Owl
Creek Irrigation Districts. The Soil Conservation Service determined the
"on-farm" water needs for the entire study area and evaluated small private
canal systems off the reservation. The tribes have conducted evaluations of
the Wind River Irrigation Project and small independent canal systems on the
The first phase of the cooperative technical effort is complete. The WWDC
and the tribes completed an evaluation of the enlargement potential of
Dinwoody Lakes Reservoir. The other reports have identified numerous
rehabilitation and betterment options that will save water and provide for
more efficient operations. These efforts were incorporated into a summary
report prepared in 1994. In 1994, the LeClair and Riverton Valley Irrigation
Districts received Level III funds to convert their existing open ditch
lateral systems to pipelines. In 1995, the Midvale Irrigation District
received Level III funds to pursue a water conservation project, the Sand
Mesa Pipeline, as identified in the Bureau report. The tribes are pursuing
In 1994, the WWDC requested additional funding for the Wind River Planning
Study so it may participate in identified water conservation projects and,
through cooperative efforts with the tribes, design an enlargement to Ray
Lake and define improvements needed for the Ethete domestic water supply system.
The WWDC and the tribes are in the process of preparing final designs of the
rehabilitation needs and enlargement of Ray Lake Dam. In 1994, a Madison
formation test well was drilled under a cooperative agreement between WWDC
and the tribes. In 1995, a second test well was drilled. The results of
these test wells and an assessment of the rural water supply system for
Ethete are being used by the tribes to prepare an improvement plan.
During 1997 and 1998 the WWDC undertook a review of the rehabilitation needs
of the Wind River Irrigation Project on the Wind River Reservation. This study
is to provide additional information regarding the potential to improve the
water supply infrastructure of the Wind River Basin.
RECOMMENDED LEGISLATIVE ACTION:
No legislative action is required.