Record Snowpack Helps Increase Groundwater Resources

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Casper- (KCWY) "This year means they will be able to they should have ample water they typically like to come on in early April and do an earlier irrigation run,” said Lyle Myler the deputy area manager for the Bureau of Reclamation.

Wyoming farmers are certainly happy across the state with snowpack levels being much higher than last year and with a bigger snowpack comes increased water runoff.

"Water is the most important entity that we deal with. We are at the headwaters of the country's water up here,” said Casper Mayor Paul Meyer.

The snowpack melting between April and July runs into reservoirs and soil. The levels are watched closely every year, especially with Wyoming’s' semi-arid climate.

"It's used for irrigation, livestock watering, domestic and municipal water supplies, industry, and also recreational miscellaneous wells throughout the state,” said Karl Taboga a geohydrologist for the Wyoming State Geological Survey

According to the natural resources conservation service the upper and lower Platte River are at over 120 percent of median river levels with the South Platte River is at 170 percent.

"Last year we had depleted reservoir storage from 2012 and 2013 and our inflow situation we had a low snow pack,” said Myler.

A low snowpack affects most people over seventy percent of rural domestic and municipal water supplies source from groundwater in the Platte River basin.

"Much of the water goes to downstream water users outside of Wyoming and so when the snowpack’s are elevated Wyoming ranchers and farmers usually have access to more water,” said Taboga.

This year ranchers are expected to be able to use their water supplies until late September.

"Water is just one of those issues, I think it has just become apparent recently that water is for fighting over and whiskey is for drinking,” said Mayor Meyer.