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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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103.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 46 1997 I $250,000 1998
Basin Plan* 30 1998 I $250,000 2000
State Water Planning Process 81 1999 I $1,435,000 2001
*Contained in Agency Budget

In 1996, the Wyoming Legislature directed the Water Development Commission and the State Engineer's Office (SEO) to develop a proposal 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 that 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.

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

  • Preparation of a pilot basin plan in the Bear River Basin to test data collection methods and procedures, new technology, information dissemination, presentation methods, etc.

  • A coordination process to present information on the statewide water planning process, and to obtain input from interested parties:

    • State-wide water issues public opinion survey, with published results.
    • Newsletters and news releases to inform the public of river basin planning activities.
    • Presentations on water planning to water and resource interest groups statewide.
    • Development and maintenance of a water planning web page, now accessed an average of 13,000 times per month.
    • Organization of a citizen's Basin Advisory Group in the Bear River Basin to test public participation methods and lay the groundwork for a plan in that basin.
    • Public open houses in each of the four water divisions to solicit public comment on the implementation recommendations.

  • Contracts for aerial photography and irrigated lands mapping in two river basins, the Snake/Salt and the Bear, to be used in those basin plans.

  • Preparation of a statewide data inventory of water and related resources information by the Water Resources Data System.

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

  • Development of implementation recommendations and cost estimates.

Following authorization by the 1999 legislature, the Water Development Commission, in July, 1999, formally established a River Basin Planning section to implement the statewide water planning process. The first two river basin plans are being prepared in the Green and Bear River Basins. Consultants were selected to prepare these basin plans, and a coordination process was implemented to gain input from individuals and private interest groups, and local, state, and federal agencies. The Bear River Basin plan is scheduled for completion in October, 2000, and the Green River Basin plan is scheduled for completion in December, 2000. As products of the statewide water planning process become available they are published to the statewide water planning website:

In order to stay on schedule a request for authorization to begin the next two basins will be presented to the 2000 legislature. Consultant services for the Powder/Tongue, and Northeast Wyoming (Little Missouri, Belle Fourche, Cheyenne, and Niobrara) are estimated to cost $800,000. Those plans will be completed in 2001. River basin plans will be completed for the entire state by 2004.

The Commission recommends that the project be incorporated into the New Development Program at Level I with an appropriation of $800,000. The WWDC anticipates that appropriations for consultant services in the other three basins will be requested in 2001, 2002, and 2003.

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