Operating Criteria of the
Wyoming Water Development Program

II. Purpose

These criteria provide the Wyoming Water Development Commission (WWDC), Wyoming Water Development Office (WWDO), and the public with general standards for evaluating and prioritizing applications for program funding, a general framework for the development of program/project recommendations and the generation of water related information. The criteria are not intended to be inflexible or uncompromising rules but rather, to provide general guidelines for use in the decision making process.

These criteria have been developed to assist the WWDC and WWDO to establish priorities and procedures and to serve as a tool to coordinate with other state and federal programs, which provide funding assistance for water projects. The criteria may be revised on a periodic basis to insure the Water Development Program is serving Wyoming citizens in a responsible and efficient manner.

These criteria respond to the requirements of W.S. 41-2-112(a) that the WWDC adopt procedures and policies and W.S. 41-2-121(b) which requires the WWDC to establish criteria for evaluation and administration of water development programs. The statutes also provide specific program guidance.

In particular, W.S. 41-2-112(b) states:

"In developing financing recommendations under the Wyoming water development program, the commission shall:

(i) Emphasize multipurpose water projects for maximum benefits and cost allocation;

(ii) Identify project costs and benefits;

(iii) Recommend an allocation of project costs, including expenditures of state funds for Level I reconnaissance studies, Level II feasibility studies and Level III development plans, to be reimbursed by project beneficiaries and to be borne by the state;

(iv) Recommend terms and conditions of financing project costs, maintenance and operation, based on the benefits to be derived by project beneficiaries and their respective ability to pay;

(v) Consider all funds, assets and revenue sources of all project beneficiaries and recommend financing plans which will reimburse expenditures of state funds, except as such expenditures may be allocated to a state benefit, including enhancement of fish and wildlife habitat or recreation;

(vi) Consider state construction and ownership of any project which requires the state to finance unreimbursed costs in excess of ten percent (10%) of the total project cost and submit recommendations on project costs and potential revenues from sale of water or power from the project;

(vii) Consider any other factors necessary to develop comprehensive financing recommendations."

W.S. 41-2-121 provides more specific guidance.

"(a) The water development commission shall establish criteria for evaluation and administration of water development projects. Criteria shall include but not be limited to the following:

(i) All water development proposals submitted to the legislature shall be reviewed by and accompanied by the recommendation of the water development commission;

(ii) The commission's recommendation shall:

(A) Emphasize projects developing unappropriated water;

(B) Give preference wherever possible to projects developing new storage capacity;

(C) Consider the potential for development of hydroelectric power in any project through Level II;

(D) Include a summary of the commission's findings under W.S. 41-2-112(b);

(E) Include financing methods subject to the following:

(I) Any water development project may be financed by grants not to exceed seventy-five percent (75%) of the total cost of the project;

(II) Storage projects may be financed by grants for the full cost of the storage capacity but not to exceed public benefits as computed by the commission;

(III) Loans may be made for domestic, agricultural, industrial, recreational or fish and wildlife enhancement purposes;

(IV) The term of a loan shall not exceed fifty (50) years after substantial completion of the project.

(V) Payment of interest and principal on loans may be deferred for not more than five (5) years after substantial completion of the project;

(VI) Loan contracts for project construction shall include provisions to ensure [that] the project shall be operated and maintained during the term of the loan;

(VII) The state may elect to own all or a part of a project and enter into water service repayment contracts with project developers;

(VIII) A project involving a transbasin diversion shall address the impact of the diversion and recommend measures to mitigate any adverse impact identified in the basin of origin.

(IX) Interest on a loan should provide a reasonable return to the state but shall not be less than four percent (4%) except when the commission recommends a lower interest rate because of public benefits.

(X) Loan contracts for project construction shall provide for payment of interest on defaulted payments at a rate of ten percent (10%) per annum."

(iii) Repealed by Laws 1986, Chapter 109, Section 3.

(iv) The WWDC may disqualify from consideration or give lower priority to a project proposed to correct problems identified in a review performed by the Department of Environmental Quality under W.S. 18-5-306(c) where the Board of County Commissioners approved a subdivision application notwithstanding the Department's recommendation that the application be disapproved.

W.S. 15-7-602, W.S. 16-1-108, and W.S. 41-10-113

To become eligible for funding, the WWDC shall require sponsor certification related to compliance pursuant to public water system rate requirements as set forth in W.S. 15-7-602, W.S. 16-1-108, and W.S. 41-10-113.

Operating Criteria Table of Contents
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