"The past two years, 2012 and 2013, were such poor water years. It depleted the reservoirs, especially Seminoe and Pathfinder our two big buckets on the North Platte and there's a lot of capacity still in those reservoir.” - Bureau of Reclamation Area Manager Coleman Smith
Wyoming is coming off one of its wettest springs in the last few years causing flooding along parts of the North Platte River, but officials say here in Casper they’re not too worried.
Bureau of Reclamation Area Manager Coleman Smith says, "The past two years, 2012 and 2013, were such poor water years. It depleted the reservoirs, especially Seminoe and Pathfinder our two big buckets on the North Platte and there's a lot of capacity still in those reservoir.” Natrona County Emergency Management Coordinator Lt. Stewart Anderson agrees. "They extended the height of the spill way at pathfinder, which even increase the capacity even more. So at this time we're not concerned.”
The city is only one thunderstorm or slow-moving rain storm away from seeing a flash flood. "With those slow moving ones with the ground so saturated up the mountain all that water is going to come off and it's going to come off on the burn scar, it's going to come off on all the creeks and drainages that go to the Platte," Anderson said.
Mountain snowpack has also caused a lot of run-off into Wyoming water ways causing some reservoirs to already spill-over. "The reason Glendo is so full is because of all of the precipitation that we got in between Alcova and Glendo and Glendo was actually in the flood pool for a few weeks in May because there was so much that came down from those tributaries," Smith said.
However, if Wyoming sees a spring next year like it did this year: it could be a different story. "Yes that's a possibility for next year, but hopefully just as in 2011 we were able to manage fairly well," Smith said.
Next year all could depend on what the demand for water is hundreds of miles away. "It'll depend on how much water they're going to need down-stream in Nebraska and that with the irrigation with the farming communities down there to how much water that draws off to how much room is left at the end of the season to where they stop asking for water," Anderson said.