Pioneer Canal and Laramie River by Tony Bergantino
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Wyoming Water Development Commission Spring 2009

In this issue...

  • Changing of the Guard at WWDC
  • Water Basin Planning
  • Twenty-six New Construction Projects Approved by the 2009 Legislature
  • News from Water Resources Data System
  • Legislature Approves New Water Planning Projects for 2009
  • Calendar of Water Events

  • Changing of the Guard at the Water Development Commission

    Four new members of the commission were appointed by Governor Freudenthal and confirmed by the State Senate in March and attended their first commission workshop and meeting on March 5 and 6, 2009. The new commissioners are Floyd Canfield of Sundance, Shawn Hall of Veteran, William Resor of Wilson and Kent Shurtleff of Kinnear. The Water Development Office welcomes all of the new members.

    Floyd is a rancher and former county commissioner for Crook County. Kent is a banker in Riverton. William “Bill” is a landowner and businessman in Teton County. Shawn is a farmer and member of the Goshen Irrigation District.

    The Director and staff of the Water Development Office would like to thank the retiring commissioners for their service and wish them well. The retiring commissioners are Floyd Field of Casper, George Jost of Green River, Robert Yemington of Sundance, and Lee Arrington of Pavillion. Their thoughtful consideration of projects and issues facing the commission will be missed. Robert is an implement dealer and rancher. Floyd was a hay farmer and water system operator for many years. George served on the Green River Town Council and is employed by FMC. Lee was employed by the Midvale Irrigation District before changing employers.

    Changing of commissioners occurs periodically as they complete their terms and move to other endeavors. Commissioners serve four year terms and are eligible for one reappointment. Their terms are staggered such that there are no more than four commissioners retiring at a time. There are ten commissioners, two from each water division of the state (see the map of the state water divisions below), one tribal member, and one at large member. Commissioners are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state senate. One member from each of the water divisions must have a water right. There has to be an equal balance of democrats and republicans on the commission.

    The commission meets at least quarterly and meetings are governed by “Robert’s Rules of Order.” Meetings are open to the public. The commission is responsible for the coordination, development and planning of Wyoming’s water and related land resources.

    Water Basin Planning

    Bear River Basin Plan Review and Evaluation - River basin planning is a continuing process and the river basin planning team is conducting a review and evaluation of the Bear River Plan. The review and evaluation will provide information on changes that have occurred since completion of the first plan in 2001 and point out areas where data need to be improved.

    Green River Basin Plan Ground Water Update - On September 23, 2008, the Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS) presented the groundwater products to the Green River Basin Advisory Group. The WSGS/USGS team submitted their first draft to the WWDO that was filled with a wealth of groundwater information. Currently the WSGS/USGS is working on implementing the review team’s comments. Keith Clarey, the project manager for the WSGS, was recently hired by the WWDO. This caused a minor setback in the progression of the report writing and some delay is expected in receiving a second draft. However, Mr. Clarey is going to continue to work on the report and coordinate the report writing. This has been made possible by the WWDO and WSGS working together to make sure the continuity of the project is not impeded. The WWDO expects to request a time extension to accommodate the completion of the report.

    Platte River Basin Plan Groundwater Update – This year’s legislature funded the Platte River Basin Plan Groundwater Update. The project will be similar to the groundwater project being completed in the Green River Basin. The project will start late this summer with an anticipated completion date of December 2010.

    Wind/Bighorn River Basin Plan Update – The first BAG meeting, since the start of the update, was held in Thermopolis on March 3, 2009. The group heard reports on both the groundwater and surface water components of the plan. Jerry Gibbens, MWH, is the Technical Manager for the surface water update. Jerry’s report included an introduction of the team members, and a presentation of the scope of services that they were tasked with completing. Jerry’s group is off to a great start on the data collection portion of the project. Look for his next update on June 18, 2009 in Lander at 6 pm.

    Steve Gray presented the groundwater update introduction for the (WSGS). Steve’s presentation included an overview of the scope of services and preliminary work products.

    Twenty-six New Construction Projects Approved by the 2009 Legislature

    Twenty-six new Level III construction projects were approved by the legislature as part of the Omnibus Water Bill - Construction. There were 15 projects funded from the New Development Program, Water Account I, and 22 projects funded from the Rehabilitation Program, Water Account II. Appropriations for Water Account I totaled $30,865,780 and appropriations for Water Account II totaled $11,616,920. For additional information concerning the projects, please contact the Water Development Office at 307-777-7626.

    News from Water Resources Data System

    The Water Resources Data System (WRDS) is pleased to announce the launch of their updated web page ( Upgrades to this website include improved ease of use, better navigation, and new features. Website users can easily navigate through new and improved links to water, climate and snow pack data, stream flow information, and the Water Library. Through the WRDS web site, users can also navigate to the Wyoming State Climate Office and related GIS web mapping tools that allow users to search and view maps and data related to wells, streamflow, precipitation, public water systems, and irrigated lands.

    For more information about these products, please contact Steve Gray, WRDS Director ( or Chris Nicholson, WRDS Outreach and Technology Coordinator (

    Legislature Approves New Water Planning Projects for 2009

    The 2009 Legislature approved the Omnibus Water Bill – Planning which includes $6,160,000 for 21 new water development projects:

    Following is a brief description of each project. If additional information is desired, please contact the Water Development Office.

    The Arapahoe Water Supply project will provide a reconnaissance of system components and operations; test drilling and installation of a new supply well; a water supply master plan; and a feasibility evaluation for improvements and expansion of the system.

    The Austin and Wall Rehabilitation project will provide a reconnaissance for rehabilitation of the Austin canal and Wall canal systems and rehabilitation of the Wall storage reservoir.

    The Burns Water Supply project includes a master plan and groundwater analysis program including well site selection.

    The Cheyenne Belvoir Ranch Groundwater project will continue hydrogeologic analyses and test drilling for development of the Paleozoic-age Casper Formation aquifer.

    The Clear Creek Watershed Study. Landowners within the Clear Creek watershed are concerned about water storage and the need to improve irrigation systems and water efficiencies. In addition, several large and small irrigation ditches have requested assistance for improvements to irrigation infrastructure.

    The Douglas Master Plan project will provide a reconnaissance of additional water supplies; GIS mapping for the city and its growth boundary; an assessment of the water system’s capacity; and evaluation of water production, storage, distribution, treatment, and transmission capacity to meet growth projections.

    The Glenrock Master Plan project will include future projects’ prioritization, GIS, updating the hydraulic model, and a financial analysis.

    The Green River-Rock Springs-Sweetwater County Joint Powers Board Water Supplies study will investigate a raw water storage site for the JPWB’s water treatment plant, and a refined analysis, geotechnical investigation, and definition of alternatives for the Reliance area storage tank and transmission pipeline.

    The Kirby Creek Watershed Study will update the watershed study to evaluate the effects of previous project implementation on current watershed function. Current condition of riparian areas will be reviewed and the geomorphic classification will be updated.

    The Lance Creek Water Supply project will evaluate the current groundwater supply and alternatives available to eliminate or reduce arsenic in the water supply as well as evaluating the current storage tank and replacement alternatives.

    The Pioneer Rehabilitation project will assess system rehabilitation opportunities and costs.

    The Poison Spider Pipelines project will study the feasibility of installing larger diameter transmission and distribution pipelines.

    The Powell Airport Water Supply project will consider options for supplying water to the airport and potential developments in the area.

    The Red Lane Master Plan project will include an inventory of the system’s condition, a hydraulic analysis and a financial analysis.

    The Sheridan Supplemental Storage project will conduct a Level II Study of Gillispie Draw as a potential reservoir site to serve as a supplemental supply for the area.

    The Sublette Creek Reservoir project will further refine the multi-purpose reservoir designs, cost estimates, and conveyance plan from the Level II, Phase I report.

    The Sweetwater Water Supply project includes a master plan, an evaluation of alternatives for a drinking water supply, and future service area delineation.

    The Wheatland ID Master Plan project will identify rehabilitation needs and consider alternative future operations of the system, including a hydropower analysis.

    The Wheatland Master Plan project will be conducted to establish water supply priorities and to address the municipality’s water usage and water rates structure.

    The Green River Basin Decision Support System . A DSS is a group of data sets, database tools, and models that, when used together, help improve decision making processes for water management, planning, and administration. The State is exploring the needs, utility, and associated costs for building and operating such a system.

    The Yoder Groundwater project will conduct a feasibility study for reconfiguring the town’s well field, and a ground water drilling and testing program.

    Arapahoe Water Supply 500,000
    Austin and Wall Rehabilitation 110,000
    Burns Water Supply 85,000
    Cheyenne Belvoir Ranch Groundwater2,000,000
    Clear Creek Watershed Study 300,000
    Douglas Master Plan 200,000
    Glenrock Master Plan 150,000
    GR-RS-SC JPB Water Supplies 350,000
    Kirby Creek Watershed Study 150,000
    Lance Creek Water Supply 100,000
    Pioneer Rehabilitation 75,000
    Poison Spider Pipelines 100,000
    Powell Airport Water Supply 50,000
    Red Lane Master Plan 65,000
    Sheridan Supplement Storage 350,000
    Sublette Creek Reservoir 375,000
    Sweetwater Water Supply 100,000
    Wheatland ID Master Plan 300,000
    Wheatland Master Plan 150,000
    Green Basin DSS 250,000
    Yoder Groundwater 400,000
    Total 2009 Projects 6,160,000

    Calendar of Water Events

    • April 28, 2009 - Bear River BAG Meeting, Evanston, 6 pm
    • April 29, 2009 - Snake/Salt BAG Meeting, Alpine, 6 pm
    • April 30, 2009 - Green River BAGMeeting, Rock Springs, 6 pm
    • May 5-7, 2009 - Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Forum, Moab, UT
    • May 8, 2009 - WWDC Meeting, Cheyenne, 8:30 am
    • May 11-15, 2009 - Board of Control Meeting, Cheyenne, WY
    • May 26, 2009 - Platte BAG Meeting, Casper, 6 pm
    • May 27, 2009 - NE Wyoming BAG, Gillette, 6 pm
    • May 28, 2009 - Powder/Tongue BAG Meeting, Buffalo, 6 pm
    • June 4, 2009 - WWDC/ Select Water Committee Meeting, Cheyenne, 8:30 am
    • June 10-11, 2009 - Upper Colorado River Commission Meeting, Santa Fe, NM
    • June 18, 2009 - Wind/Bighorn BAG Meeting, Lander, 6 pm
    • August 10-14, 2009 - Board of Control Meeting, Burgess Junction, WY
    • August 21, 2009 - WWDC/ Select Water Committee Meeting, Casper

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