March 15, 2021
During 2020, Wyoming has been actively involvedin an outreach effort with the water users on the feasibility of demand management in Wyoming. As a prelude to the demand management discussion, the users expressed a need for clarity on potential curtailment parameters. Most recently, four focus groups were convened to explore the details of several topics related to potential curtailment and demand management. The draft report is expected to be prepared by the end of 2020; it will summarize all the discussions to date as well as develop recommendations.
In addition to the above-described in-state effort, Wyoming continues to work with the other three Upper Basin States on the demand management feasibility assessments outlined in the Drought Contingency Plan documents. The four states, along with staff from the Upper Colorado River Commission, have contracted with several entities to help in the technical, legal, and economic analyses related to demand management.
The state, in partnership with the water users, continues to work on several new and existing infrastructure projects designed to put additional water to beneficial use in Wyoming. These efforts include increasing storage at six existing facilities and the construction of one new dam/reservoir. In addition, Wyoming remains committed to its ongoing weather modification program.
Finally, as reported last year, both the Director of the Wyoming Water Development Office and the Wyoming State Engineer retired in 2019. These positions were filled by Governor Gordon in late 2019. Brandon Gebhart, P.E. was appointed to head the Water Development Office. Prior to his appointment, Gebhart had spent more than 20 years in consulting engineering working in the field of water resources, including the planning, design, and construction management on a variety of water development projects in Wyoming. Greg Lanning, P.E. began his duties as Wyoming’s 16th State Engineer in November 2019. Lanning previously served as Deputy State Engineer from 2012 to 2014. His broad background in civil engineering and water resource management includes time spent as Public Works Director for communities both in Wyoming and in neighboring states.