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 the 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. A descriptive plan for each of the
seven major river basins will be provided, which will include a statewide computer database that
will be updated as conditions change.
During 1997 and 1998, the WWDC undertook a pilot Basin Plan in the Bear River Basin
to test data collection methods and procedures, to test information dissemination
methods, presentation methods, etc. A coordination process was developed to present
information on the proposed Statewide Water Planning Process, and to obtain input from
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, 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 was completed in January 2001. Products of the Statewide Water Planning Process
are published on the Water Planning website at: http://waterplan.state.wy.us.
The 2000 Legislature authorized river basin plans to be prepared for the Powder/Tongue and
Northeast Wyoming River Basins. Basin Advisory Groups were formed in those basins, and the
consultant completed those plans in January 2002.
The 2001 Legislature authorized river basin plans to be prepared for the Wind/Bighorn and
Snake/Salt River Basins. Basin Advisory Groups have been formed in those basins, and the
consultants are preparing draft plans for presentation, with those reports scheduled for completion
in January 2003.
In order to stay on schedule a request for authorization to complete the North Platte River Basin,
would have needed to be submitted to the 2002 Legislature. The Attorney General's office
requested that the WWDC postpone preparation of the Platte basin plan for one year to allow
them to finish implementation of the North Platte Lawsuit settlement agreement. WWDC agreed
to postpone the Platte River Basin Plan until funding could be obtained from the Legislature in
2003. This postponement also delayed the completion of the Framework Plan and the basin
updates by one year.
WWDC and the Attorney General's Office have agreed to initiate the North Platte River Basin
Plan in 2003. Following the completion of the North Platte River Basin Plan development of the
Framework Water Plan will be initiated. Following the completion of the Framework Water Plan,
individual Basin plans will be updated as was originally proposed with the initiation of the River
Basin Planning Program in 1999.
RECOMMENDED LEGISLATIVE ACTION:
The Commission recommends that the project be incorporated into the Rehabilitation Program at
Level I with an appropriation of $600,000.