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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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107.PROJECT:State Water Plan
SPONSOR:State of Wyoming
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
State Water Planning Process 36 2000 I $800,000 2002
*Contained in Agency Budget

In 1996, the Wyoming Legislature directed the Wyoming Water Development Commission (WWDC) 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 Water Development Account I 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 generates a descriptive plan for each of the seven major river basins, and includes a state-wide computer database that will 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 methods, presentation methods, etc.

  • A coordination process to present information on the proposed 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, currently accessed an average of 24,000 times per month

    • 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.

    • 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 were initiated 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 was completed in November, 2000, and the Green River Basin Plan will be completed in January, 2001. Products of the Statewide Water Planning Process are published to the Water Planning website at:

The 2000 Legislature authorized river basin plans to be prepared for the Powder/Tongue and Northeast Wyoming River Basins. The two Basin Advisory Groups are formed and working in those basins, and consultants are underway on the plans. Both plans are scheduled for completion in December 2001.

In order to stay on schedule a request for authorization to begin the next two basins will be presented to the 2001 Legislature. Consultant services for the Wind/Bighorn and Snake/Salt River Basins are estimated to cost $1,550,000. Those plans will be completed in December 2002, and pending completion of the North Platte River Basin plan, river basin plans for the entire state will be completed in December 2003. Following completion of the plans in each of the state's seven basins the process of updating the plans will begin. Each river basin plan will be updated on approximately a five year interval to maintain the accuracy and usefulness of the data.

The WWDC anticipates that an appropriation for consultant services for the North Platte River Basin Plan will be requested in 2002. Following completion of all seven river basin plans it is anticipated that the update process will begin, and smaller funding requests will be submitted to the legislature in subsequent sessions.

The Commission recommends that the project be incorporated into the Rehabilitation Program at Level I with an appropriation of $1,550,000.

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