Pioneer Canal and Laramie River by Tony Bergantino
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Wyoming Water Development Commission Fall 2001

In this issue...

  • River Basin Planning Discussions from the WWA Conference
  • Progress Reports from the Snake/Salt and Wind/Bighorn Basins
  • Progress Report from the Northeast and Powder-Tongue River Basins
  • Water Planning Calendar
  • News from WWDC
  • News from Water Resources Data System
  • The Water Conservation Report

  • River Basin Planning Discussions from the WWA Conference

    The Wyoming Water [Development] Association held its Annual Meeting in Casper at the Radisson Hotel on October 23rd -24th and used the opportunity to focus on the State of Wyoming’s current river basin planning process. Entitled “Wyoming Water 2001: Wyoming’s Water Challenges and Opportunities”, the conference featured discussions on the hot-button issues facing each of Wyoming’s river basins as presented by respective basin advisory group members, a roundtable discussion on “Wyoming’s River Basins – Planning for the Future” as led by the basin advisory group facilitators, a presentation on “Wyoming’s River Basin Planning Process, Lessons Learned: An Update and Future Directions” as given by Jon Wade, WWDC River Basin Planning Administrator, and a keynote address, “Wyoming’s Water Resources, Visions for the Future" as delivered by Rick Tempest, Speaker of the Wyoming House of Representatives, and Wyoming State Legislator from Casper.

    Basin participants included John Zebre, Green River Basin Advisory Group member; John Teichert, Bear River Basin Advisory Group Member; Nels Lofgren, Powder/Tongue River Basin Advisory Group member, Jim Kruse, Northeast Basin Advisory Group member; Reed Gardner, Snake/Salt Basin Advisory Group member; Kathy Buchner, Snake/Salt Basin Advisory Group member; Gary Collins, Wind/Bighorn River Basin Advisory Group member; and Klodette Stroh, Wind/Bighorn River Basin Advisory Group member. Since the North Platte River basin currently does not have a basin advisory group, Tom Davidson, from the Wyoming Attorney General's Office, spoke on North Platte River basin issues.

    More than 100 participants listened to the concerns and issues brought up by residents of Wyoming’s seven major river basins. Attendees included many federal and state resource managers and afforded individuals the opportunity to brainstorm as to “What is right with the State’s current planning effort?”, “What is wrong with the State’s current planning effort?”, and “How can the state help?”. Information collected at the meeting will assist the planning team in making the state’s current river basin planning process even better. Also, the Wyoming Water Association has indicated that it will continue to promote and support these activities as it sees planning as being integral to the future of the state’s water resources. We agree!

    Progress Reports from the Snake/Salt and Wind/Bighorn Basins

    Progress has been steady since the beginning of the planning process in the Wind/Bighorn (WB) and Snake/Salt (SS) basins. The Basin Advisory Groups (BAG) have accomplished much, including complete their mission statements and issues identification work.

    Sunrise Engineering has been hired develop the basin plan for the SS basin and has begun acquiring data for the basin water use profile. Water rights data has been gathered and has been tied to irrigated polygons throughout the basin. Data is also being gathered that will be used to develop demand projections.

    BRS Engineering was hired to develop the WB basin plan and activities are underway similar to those being undertaken by the SS basin. The BRS team has nearly completed the initial phase of irrigated lands mapping and water rights attribution has begun. Economic Data is also being gathered to be used for demand projection work. For further information on any of the river basin plans please call (307) 777-7626 or email

    Progress Report from the Northeast and Powder-Tongue River Basins

    HKM Engineering is in the final stages of preparing the Powder/Tongue and the Northeast (Little Missouri, Belle Fourche, Cheyenne, and Niobrara River Basins) River Basin Plans. The water rights attribution effort is complete for the Powder/Tongue (PT) and Northeast (NE) basins. Interviews have been conducted with industrial and recreational water users throughout the NE and PT basins to determine water usage by these sectors, and the industrial water use inventory and technical memorandum are in draft form. Technical memoranda are also nearing completion on population projections for the two basins.

    Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data themes have been developed for the various use types and will be available in Decimal Degree and UTM formats. GIS coverages will be available in project and e00 file formats.

    Modeling work is in draft form in the PT and NE River Basins, and utilizes a study period beginning in 1970 and continuing through 1999. Model schematics have been prepared for the both basins. The agricultural water use memoranda are now being prepared, to be followed by the spreadsheet model development and calibration, and available surface water determination memoranda. HKM is also currently preparing the available groundwater determination memoranda.

    HKM has developed the screening criteria and the long list and short list of future water use opportunities with input provided by BAGs. They are also preparing the technical memoranda on legal and institutional constraints. HKM is using the water availability models to define existing shortages and to determine the amount of water available for future use, subject to compact constraints.

    The draft reports are due by the end of the year, and the final reports should be available by late winter.

    For further information on this or any river basin plan the River Basin Planning Staff can be reached at or visit our website at

    Water Planning Calendar

    December 10, 2001 - Snake/Salt Basin Advisory Group Meeting - Town Hall, Alpine, WY, 6 p.m. Topics: Wyoming State Climatoligist's Office Program; USGS Monitoring and Data Collection; Wyoming Game & Fish: Fisheries Management in the Snake/Salt.

    December 11, 2001 - Wind/Bighorn Basin Advisory Group Meeting - Holiday Inn, Thermopolis, WY, 3 p.m. Topics: Wyoming State Climatologist's Office Program; USGS Monitoring and Data Collection; Socioeconomic Issues in the Wind/Bighorn.

    December 12, 2001 - Powder/Tongue Basin Advisory Group Meeting - Sheridan, WY, 6 p.m. Topics: Wyoming State Climatologist's Office Program; Draft Final Results of the Powder/Tongue Basin Planning Process.

    December 13, 2001 - Northeast Basin Advisory Group Meeting - Moorcroft, WY, 1 p.m. Topics: Wyoming State Climatologist's Office Program; Draft Final Results of the Northeast Basin Planning Process.

    January 9, 2002 - Wyoming Water Development Commission Meeting - Laramie County Community College, Center for Conferences & Institutes, Centennial Room 130, Cheyenne, WY, 8:30 a.m. Topics: 2002 Proposed Water Development Program.

    January 10, 2002 - Legislative Select Water Committee Meeting - TBA, Cheyenne, WY, 8:30 a.m. Topics: 2002 Proposed Water Development Program.

    January 16, 2002 - Powder/Tongue Basin Advisory Group Meeting - Sheridan, WY, 6 p.m. Topics: Final Powder/Tongue Basin Plan Presentation.

    January 17, 2002 - Northeast Basin Advisory Group Meeting - Upton, WY 1 p.m. Topics: Final Northeast Basin Plan Presentation.

    February 12, 2002 - Wind/Bighorn Basin Advisory Group Meeting - Dubois, WY, 3 p.m. Topics: Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL); TBA.

    February 13, 2002 - Snake/Salt Basin Advisory Group Meeting - Afton, WY, 6 p.m. Topics: Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL); TBA.

    March 5, 2002 - Wyoming Water Forum Meeting - State Engineer's Office Conference Room, Herschler Building, 4th Floor East, Cheyenne, WY, 10 a.m. Topics: "The Water Resources Data System and the Wyoming State Climatologist's Office"

    News from WWDC

    This year the Wyoming Water Development Commission (WWDC) received the largest number of new project applications it has seen in agency history. The following list includes new project funding requests that have received preliminary approval by the WWDC and the Select Water Committee. Preliminary approval was given at the Commission meeting held in Cheyenne on the 8th and 9th of November.

    1. Level III, New Development
    Casper Zone II
    Torrington Raw Water
    Wright Well Completion

    Level III, Rehabilitation
    Bridger Valley JPB Raw
    Water Transmission Line & Storage
    Fayette Irrigation
    Riverton Valley Rehab 2, Phase 1
    Shoshone Drop Structures
    Sidon/Bitter Creek Crossing Rehab
    Upton Tank Replacement

    2. Level I, New Development
    Baggs Master Plan
    Church Reservoir (Green River ASR)
    Powder River Water Supply Study
    South Garden Creek
    Story Aquifer Study
    University of Wyoming Research

    Level I, Rehabilitation
    Alta Master Plan
    Hot Springs State Park, Big Springs Study
    Ranchester Master Plan
    Saratoga Master Plan Update
    Ten Sleep/Hyattville Water Supply Master Plans
    Wagner Cherokee Irrigation Master Plan
    York/South Side Ditch Rehabilitation Study

    3. Level II, New Development
    Big Horn Regional Level II
    Buffalo Tank
    Cheyenne Hydro Power
    CBM Aquifer Storage and Retrieval
    Dayton Water Supply
    Greybull Raw Water
    Greybull Valley Irrigation
    District Hydro Power
    Irrigation Hydro Power
    Lander Paleozoic Wells
    Little Snake River Dams
    Lovell Irrigation District Hydro Power
    North Alpine Water Supply
    Pinedale Hydro Power
    Pine Haven Madison Test Well
    Sheridan Hydro Power
    Sunlight Water Supply
    Viva Naughton Enlargement

    Level II, Rehabilitation
    Albin Well & Main Rehab
    Byron Raw Water
    Green River Supply Canal
    Hidden Valley Pipeline
    Highline Canal
    Lake DeSmet Master Plan & Reservoir Rehabilitation Plan
    LeClair Lateral
    Riverton Valley Rehab #2, Phase 2
    West Side Canal Jons Drop & Four Mile Flume

    Please call the 777-7626 with Questions.

    News from Water Resources Data System...

    From the State Climatologist
    As of mid-November 2001, the drought that has gripped most of the state for the past 20 months continues. The weather pattern this time last year resulted in about half the normal mountain snow pack for the winter. Unfortunately this fall's weather pattern appears to be identical to last fall's. If this scenario holds, this next summer will be considerably harder on farmers and ranchers than last. Long-range weather forecasters use a technique of comparing major regional weather patterns to precipitation totals, sometimes several thousands of miles down wind. As the climate record becomes longer in duration, statistical methods help refine the accuracy of these forecasts. Because of the complexity of the atmosphere and its interaction with land, oceans, and terrain, no forecast is 100 percent certain, especially 3 to 9 months in advance. So while all indicators point towards a severe drought, there is a possibility that the pattern will shift and welcomed rains and snows will return in abundance.

    From the WRDS Coordinator
    In an effort to spread the news about the latest water and climate topics of interest, the Water Resources Data System (WRDS) website has established a listserv called RAPIDS (Remote Access to People, Information and Data Sites). To subscribe for free: email to and in the Body of the message, type: subscribe rapids and then to send an email to the group, email:

    Wyoming's Drought Plan
    Jan Curtis, a member of the Governor's Drought Task Force has been tasked to update the State's current drought plan by incorporating specific triggers that would help determine when a drought begins or ends and to what degree the severity of a drought is. The nature of droughts is highly complex, effecting different segments of the society depending on the duration, geographical extent, and the type of land effected. The findings will be presented on 19 March 2002 in Cheyenneat the Drought Task Force Meeting.

    The Water Conservation Report...

    There are a number of local, state and federal agencies and organizations in Wyoming that have resident expertise to assist with the development and delivery of water conservation information, programs and projects. They also offer opportunities to connect together to leverage assistance in technical support and with funding programs.

    It is important to maintain and enhance coordination among and between these various agencies and organizations in order to bring forward the wide range of programs that are available. One effort that attempts to accomplish this objective is the Water Management and Conservation Assistance Programs Directory.

    This publication, now in second edition, is a compilation of local, state and federal programs. It is a description of water related programs in an introductory format complete with contact name, telephone number and electronic address where available. This directory is provided as an opportunity to review a menu of assistance information and is available in hard copy or via electronic format.

    The Water Resources Data System at the University of Wyoming maintains the electronic form of the Directory. To connect to this site and review this information, click on the Water Management and Conservation Assistance Programs Directory entry at the Wyoming Water Development Commission web site

    An example page from the directory off of the website is shown below.

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