Wyo. Water Commission Considers Watershed Studies

Having cleaner water and more of it is an important piece for growing communities.

The Wyoming Water Development Commission heard different ways officials hope to improve Wyoming’s water supply.

Watersheds, a term for collected rain water, runs into streams, lakes and other larger bodies of water.

Staff looked over applicants for watershed studies around the state.

The commission takes the requests for watershed studies to be conducted on public land.

Karen Budd-Falen Wyo Water Development Commissioner shared, “They come to us with applications we make a determine if it is in the public benefit because the constitution prohibits us from spending money for just a private benefit there has to be a general public benefit."

Budd-Falen added water is one of Wyoming’s biggest minerals and some of it is running out of the state.

Members said it is important to protect and conserve it.

"Can we beneficially use that in Wyoming under the Wyoming water law as can we use that in Wyoming instead of just sending it all down to Las Vegas? That’s some of the, when you are talking about unappropriated unused water, that’s a lot of where it is."

If projects are approved the benefits will go beyond our cities which also helps wildlife.

Harry Labonde, at the Wyoming Water Development office shared, “Rehabilitation of infrastructure; diversion structures that allow fish passage, fish are part of the public benefit, for when we're improving water for a community there’s the public benefit it benefits the public at large. Cleaner more of it as a population grows."

Committee members differ in the belief that watershed studies work because of studies being done on public land.

However others said watershed studies provide more clean and healthy water for all of Wyoming.

The next meeting will be November 1st through the 3rd in Casper where this year’s applications will be discussed.