As previously discussed, the statutory guidelines are sufficiently broad to allow the program to address all types of projects involving water. However, in order to establish priorities and to utilize available program funds effectively and efficiently, it is necessary to develop priorities relative to the types of water projects the program should pursue. The following is a list of eligible projects in order of preference:
1. Multipurpose Projects -- W.S. 41-2-112(b) directs the program to emphasize multipurpose projects. For purposes of program implementation, multipurpose projects are hereby defined as projects which serve two or more of the following functions: agriculture, municipal, industrial, rural domestic, recreation, environmental, flood control, erosion control, and hydropower.
2. Storage Projects -- Dam and reservoirs that store water during times of surplus for use later when needed shall be a program priority. These projects typically provide opportunities for many potential uses. While water supply shall be emphasized in the development of operating plans, recreation, environmental enhancement, flood control, erosion control and hydropower uses should be explored as secondary purposes.
3. New Supply Projects -- These projects include groundwater wells, alluvial wells, diversion dams, and other structures, which put unappropriated water to beneficial use.
4. New Supply Systems -- While the above three types of projects make water available at the source, supply systems bring this source water closer to the point of use through pipeline and canal systems. Projects in this category include major water transmission facilities that deliver water to distribution systems that serve individual users or to water treatment facilities. Typically, the transmission systems transport raw/untreated water. However, if the most efficient/economical project configuration dictates the water should be treated prior to transportation, the transmission systems can serve to deliver treated water. Water treatment and distribution facilities are not included in this category and are not eligible for funding.
5. Hydropower Projects -- These projects include retrofitting existing facilities or the construction of new facilities capable of developing marketable hydropower. W.S. 41-2-121 directs the consideration of hydropower production on any program project through the feasibility phase. However, these types of projects shall not be subsidized with grants or low interest loans. The potential return of the investment has to be the key consideration in determining whether to pursue hydropower projects.
6. Purchase of Existing Storage -- This type of investment may be made under the program if the storage is uncommitted or has not historically been used for a specific use. Any such purchase shall be project specific. There should be assurances that the investment will lead to the ultimate use of the water. The potential market for the water shall be the key consideration in determining whether the purchase should be pursued. Potential secondary benefits such as recreational or environmental uses shall also be considered.
7. Watershed Improvement Projects -- The water development components of watershed improvement projects are eligible for Level I and Level II study funding and Level III Construction funding, if recommended by the Commission and approved by the Legislature. Sponsors of watershed improvements that primarily address erosion control, flood control or other non-water development related environmental issues, are encouraged to seek funding from other sources that have the authority and funding to pursue these projects.
8. Recreation -- The development of water projects the primary purpose of which is to enhance recreation may be implemented under this program. In addition, the feasibility of providing recreation benefits should be considered in the operating plan of all new projects.
9. Drinking Water State Revolving Fund -- By enacting W.S. 16-1-301 the Legislature authorized the use of water development account funds to meet federal matching grant requirements through the year 2003. The federal capitalization grant and the state's matching share will be used to finance a "drinking water state revolving loan fund" (DWSRF) program. The DWSRF program may be used to fund improvements to water treatment systems and to finance measures that address other Safe Drinking Water Act compliance issues. This program is not included in the annual Omnibus Water Bill consideration by the Legislature. Water Development program funds are appropriated automatically by statute to match 10% of the federal capitalization grant.
Operating Criteria Table of Contents
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