With the Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) now signed, the focus in Wyoming has been to initiate a focused outreach effort to engage our water users in the Colorado River basin to look critically at the concept of demand management in Wyoming.
The outreach effort’s specific objectives are to: 1) develop an environment and format for water users and stakeholders to discuss and share detailed information and ideas regarding the feasibility of a Demand Management program in Wyoming, and 2) explore the suite of outstanding issues related to a potential Demand Management program in Wyoming.
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 assessment outlined in the DCP documents. One initial effort in this process was to host a stakeholder workshop held in Salt Lake City in June.
Weather Modification in the Wind River Mountains is running strong, this will be the sixth consecutive year of operations. The Sierra Madre Mountain Range’s aerial cloud seeding program has an interesting “add-on” area to seed Colorado’s Never Summer Mountains (contingent upon permitting) this coming season. The potential seeding of this adjacent target area is a cooperative arrangement between the State of Wyoming and Colorado’s Jackson County Water Conservancy District.
The State is also looking at several projects to create new, rehabilitate or firm-up existing storage projects. These include efforts at Fontenelle Reservoir, Big Sandy Reservoir, Middle Piney Reservoir, New Fork Reservoir and West Fork Reservoir. The progress on these projects are at varying stages—from active construction to final design to feasibility assessment.
From a personnel perspective, the two directors of Wyoming’s “water agencies” retired in 2019. Pat Tyrrell, Wyoming State Engineer since 2001, retired on April 1. Fortunately for Wyoming, Pat remains as Wyoming’s Commissioner to the Upper Colorado River Commission. On March 15, Harry LaBonde, Director of the Wyoming Water Development Commission, retired. As of this writing, Governor Gordon has yet to name permanent replacements for either position.