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LARAMIE COUNTY CONTROL AREA ADVISORY BOARD MEETING


    The Laramie County Control Area Advisory Board will meet August 9, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. in the State Engineer’s Office, 
    conference room, 1st Floor West, Herschler Building, Cheyenne, Wyoming. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss and obtain
    the Advisory Board's recommendation on the following application and petitions:

    Application:
  • James A. Hastings: T.F. No. U.W. 44-2-312 , Hastings
    Petitions:
  • Grace Valley LLC: Petition Docket No. I-U-2017-3-1, Werner No. 11
  • David A. Duello: Petition Docket No.’s I-U-2017-2 and I-U-2017-3, Carl Wisroth No.1 and No. 2
  • Burnett Land & Livestock: Petition Docket No. I-U-2017-1-1
    To obtain a copy of the agenda and/or minustes from the January 26, 2017, Advisory Board meeting, please contact Lisa 
    Lindemann at (307) 777-5063, or Terry Carpenter at (307) 777-6688.  

PROCESS FOR REQUESTING ASSIGNMENT OF

UNALLOCATED ORIGINAL BEAR RIVER COMPACT STORAGE


As of July 10, 2017, 4,100 acre-feet (AF) of Bear River Original Compact Storage (OCS) is available for allocation to Wyoming water users in the Bear River Basin. Facilities that receive a storage permit from the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office indicating they have been awarded OCS under the terms of the 1958 Compact are exempt from storage restrictions when the elevation of Bear Lake (located in Utah – Idaho) drops below a surface elevation of 5,911 feet. Appropriators who receive a storage right other than OCS may be regulated off when Bear Lake drops below elevation 5,911 feet.
 
At this time, it is the intent of the Wyoming State Engineer to allocate up to 1,100 AF of the remaining OCS water to small water users/projects (less than 100 AF) in the basin. The remaining 3,000 AF of OCS will be reserved for larger projects.
 
Criteria and documentation requirements for eligible water appropriators are outlined in the following policy memorandum. The deadline to submit requests for OCS allocation is September 30, 2017.
 
 

STATE ENGINEER MODIFIES 2013 ORDER CONTAINING CORRECTIVE CONTROLS

IN THE HORSE CREEK BASIN

 

Following data collection and review, a public hearing, and receipt of public comment, State Engineer Pat Tyrrell issued an order today that will modify groundwater use limitations for the next three years in the LaGrange area.  The First Amended Order modifies the terms of an Order issued on July 19, 2013, in accordance with the terms of that previous Order.

 

More specifically, the order was issued for the LaGrange Aquifer and surface water diversions from Horse Creek at and below the Brown and LaGrange diversion in southern Goshen County, Wyoming. In crafting the First Amended Order, Tyrrell took into account groundwater and surface water use information gained in the first three years of operating under the original Order, as well as comments received from area water users, as expressed at a public hearing in LaGrange on February 15, 2017 and the 30-day comment period that followed.

 

Notably, according to Tyrrell, groundwater production in the first three years under the original Order was significantly below the amount believed to be sustainable under the current level of knowledge.  Partly, this was due to favorable hydrology, and to modifications some operators made to their operations.  In the last three years there have been no calls for surface water regulation, and Hawk Springs Reservoir has filled every year. “Only about 48 percent of the allotted groundwater was pumped in the first three years.  So, we’ve underutilized the LaGrange Aquifer in some ways,” said Tyrrell.  “Those who would benefit from a larger cap should be able to do so, and we can do that, I believe, without jeopardizing the resource in the meantime.”

 

In the order, Tyrrell continues the original Order’s closure of the area to further permitting of large capacity wells, and continued the requirement of the adjudication of currently unadjudicated groundwater permits prior to use.  However, the First Amended Order increases the allowable groundwater used for irrigation from the LaGrange Aquifer from 12 inches per year (36 inches for the 3-year period) in the original Order to a total of 45 inches for the next three water years (starting in water year 2017), with no more than 20 inches produced in any one year.  All groundwater wells permitted for over 25 gallons per minute will also be required to continue to have flow meters installed, and to report their use annually.  While so limited, groundwater use will not be vulnerable to calls for regulation from surface water rights.

 

Surface water diversions, and reservoirs, will still be required to have acceptable control and measurement capabilities.  Similarly, those diversions seeking to divert water during the winter will be required to have acceptable control and measurement capabilities prior to diverting in the winter, and any such diversions will be required to be spread across the appropriate permitted (or adjudicated) acres up to the soil holding capacity only.

 

The First Amended Order is in effect for a period of three years, (water years 2017-2019) after which these conjunctive management measures will be reassessed again. The current order continues to focus largely on water use data acquisition.  At that time, the current Order will either remain in effect or terminated, a new Order will be issued, or the Order will be replaced by an agreement among the affected appropriators.

 
Open Letter - Horse Creek Order (Signed May 31, 2017)
 
 

STATE ENGINEER'S OFFICE TO CONDUCT PUBLIC HEARING ON HORSE CREEK BASIN ORDER
 
The Wyoming State Engineer's Office (SEO) will conduct a public hearing regarding the July 19, 2013 Order of the State Engineer - Horse Creek Basin on February 15, 2017, from 2:00 to 5:00 P.M. in the LaGrange Community Center at the Fairgrounds, LaGrange, Wyoming.  The hearing will be followed by a 30-day comment period during which area water users may submit comments to the SEO.
 
The Horse Creek Basin Order was issued for the LaGrange Aquifer and surface water diversions from Horse Creek at and below the Brown and LaGrange diversion in southern Goshen County, Wyoming.  In crafting the Order, State Engineer Patrick T. Tyrrell took into account concerns voiced by area water users, as expressed at a public hearing held in LaGrange on April 12, 2013.  
 
The Order called for closing of the area to further permitting of large capacity wells, and for the adjudication of currently unadjudicated groundwater permits.  Also, groundwater used for irrigation from the LaGrange Aquifer was limited to 12 inches per year for three years (starting in 2014), and a total of 36 inches over that period.  Some flexibility within the 3-year period was allowed.  All groundwater wells permitted for over 25 gallons per minute were required to have flow meters installed, and to report use annually.  While so limited, groundwater use was not subject to calls for regulation from surface water rights.
 
Suface water diversions and reservoirs were also requied to have acceptable control and measurement capabilities.  Those diversions seeking to divert water during the winter were required to have acceptable control and measurement capabilitites prior to diverting in the winter of 2013-2014, and any such diversions were required to be spread across the appropriate permitted (or adjudicated) acres up to the soil holding capacity only.
 
Beginning November 16, 2016, the State Engineer has been reviewing the effects of the first three years of operation under the Order.  A summary of that information will be presented at the hearing.  Comments from area water users relative to the Order's corrective controls will be accepted both at the hearing, and for 30 days following the hearing.  Those comments, in addition to information collected by the SEO, will be used to determine whether or not the terms of the Order shall continue to apply, whether a new order should be issued, or if the Order should be terminated.
 
If no new order is issued by April 1, 2017, the terms of the existing Order will continue in force, for consecutive three-year periods, until a new order is issued.  The Order may also be replaced by an operating agreement entered into by all parties subject to the Order, and approved by the State Engineer as provided by Wyoming Statute W.S. 41-3-915(c).  
 
January 25, 2017 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Submit Water Data Electronically
 
 
You may be required to submit water use or water level data as a condition of your groundwater permit, or as a condition of a State Engineer’s Order.  The State Engineer’s Office - Ground Water Division is pleased to announce the ability to submit  Water Use and/or Water Level Reports electronically through the Online Reporting Web Application.

The first time you use the tool, you will need to register.  To register, you will need a valid email address and will need to complete this FORM.   Once the completed FORM is submitted, our office will email a link to the Online Reporting Web Application to you.

 

If you are unable to report electronically, you can complete the paper forms (provided below) and submit them to:  

Wyoming State Engineer’s Office - Ground Water Division

122 West 25th St.

Herschler Building 1 West

Cheyenne, WY  82002

seo-water-reporting@wyo.gov

Please note, water use and/or water level data must be reported on a separate form for each Permit or Well.  

 

The Online Reporting Web Application is currently offered as a TEST PROGRAM.  As such, users may encounter unexpected errors. Please report any problems, or suggestions to make the Online Reporting Web Application more user friendly to:  Markus Malessa, Ground Water Division, at 307-777-6166, or at seo-water-reporting@wyo.gov.

 

Water Reporting Forms:

Monthly Water Use Report (including Temporary Use Permits)

Annual Water Use Report (Laramie County Order, Water Year and Calendar Year)

Water Level Report

 
 

Opening:  Groundwater Advisory Committee 
 

The State Engineer's Office has a current opening for the Groundwater Advisory Committee for Water Division 4 (lands drained by the Green, Bear, and Snake River drainages located west of the Continental Divide that includes ithe western portion of the Red Desert Basin).  

A Groundwater Advisory Committee, comprised of three persons, represents each of the state’s four water divisions.  Committee members are appointed by the Governor, and represent the landowners and water users of their respective water division, the geographical areas of the division, and the public interest.  Committee members serve a six-year term.  

The function of the four Committees is to assist and advise the State Engineer and Board of Control regarding policies that affect groundwater, and in developing solutions to groundwater problems in their respective water divisions.  The Committees also provide advice and assistance to the Control Area Advisory Boards, and call and supervise the election of the members of the Control Area Advisory Boards.  The Groundwater Advisory Committees operate in conjunction with the State Engineer’s Office.

Several Committee members' terms are due to expire September 30, 2017, including two in Water Division 1, two in Water Division 2, one in Water Division 3, and two additional positions in Water Division 4.  

If you are interested in applying for any of the four Committees, please contact Tatum Soto by calling (307) 777-5647, or by e-mailing tatum.soto@wyo.gov

If you would like additional information on the Groundwater Advisory Committees, please contact Lisa Lindemann (Administrator, Ground Water Division) at (307) 777-5063, or lisa.lindemann@wyo.gov


Wyoming and the Colorado River
 
When the Wyoming Water Development Commission and members of the Select Water Committee of the Wyoming Legislature raised questions related to our rights and abilities regarding the Colorado River in late 2015, it was fitting that this office step up and offer to create a document to address the issue of Wyoming’s role in the management of the Colorado River. That document can be found at the link below. It is my sincere hope that having this Law of the River summary, and its Wyoming effects, distilled down to essential components and hopefully written for a wide audience, will be helpful as these and other groups and individuals forge Wyoming’s future in the basin.
 
The intent of this Report is to inform its readers about the current issues on the river, Wyoming’s uses of the river, and to describe the varied laws, compacts, decrees, operating plans, and other instruments that have come to be as uses of the Colorado River Basin have matured and evolved since the early 1900s. It also discusses the effects of those instruments in and on Wyoming. What is our role as a Colorado River Basin State? What benefits do we get from the compacts on the river, and are we also constrained by them? Should we care about uses of water in Mexico? Should we care about the salinity of the water diverted at the All-American Canal in California? Might endangered fish in Utah affect water use in Wyoming?
 
Our hope is to delve into these important questions, and more, in a way that educates water managers, appropriators, our citizenry and governmental officials across the state. The Colorado is a complex river basin, often misunderstood and the subject of many an urban myth. In the coming pages, we hope you’ll learn more about this marvelous resource and Wyoming’s place at the table.
 
 

Pilot System Water Conservation Program RFP Released
October 10, 2016
 
The Upper Colorado River Commission (UCRC) has issued another Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Pilot System Water Conservation Program for the Upper Colorado River Basin. This RFP is for consideration of projects to be implemented in 2017. Facing declining levels in Lakes Powell and Mead, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and four major water providers that depend on the Colorado River Basin supplies have made available $1.8 million for use in the Upper Colorado River Basin to fund the Pilot System Water Conservation Program. This program is designed to develop and test tools that could potentially be used as part of a drought contingency plan to help protect storage within the Colorado River basin. This is the third round of proposals that the UCRC, funding partners and Wyoming State Engineer’s Office will consider. All users of Colorado River water (Green and Little Snake River basins) are encouraged to consider developing a pilot project for consideration under this RFP.
 
 
 

State Engineer’s Office Begins Auditing Compliance in Laramie County Control Area
 
 
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – The Wyoming State Engineer’s Office (SEO) will begin auditing compliance with the Order of the State Engineer - Laramie County Control Area, dated April 1, 2015, beginning October 1, 2016. 
 
Under terms of the Order, prior to use in water year 2017, which begins October 1, 2016, all irrigation, municipal, industrial, and miscellaneous use wells within the Laramie County Control Area completed in the High Plains Aquifer shall be fitted with functional and accurate flow meters properly sized for the flow rate of the well pump and approved by the Water Division I Superintendent.  All such meters must be kept in proper working order and maintained to the Superintendent’s satisfaction.  Wells without an approved and properly functioning flow meter shall not be pumped after September 30, 2016.  Detailed questions on flow meter requirements can be directed to Mr. Brian Pugsley, Water Division I Superintendent, at 307-532-2248, or to the Ground Water Division of the SEO at 307-777-6163.
 
Also under terms of the Order, no later than November 15 of each year appropriators must deliver monthly and annual reports on total groundwater production for the immediately prior water year for each metered well to the SEO Ground Water Division on forms provided by the SEO.  For example, total monthly and annual well production for any such well during water year 2017 (October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017) shall be delivered to the SEO Ground Water Division by November 15, 2017.
 
Additionally, appropriators of all unadjudicated, non time-limited, irrigation, municipal, industrial, and miscellaneous use underground water appropriations (including enlargements) developed in the High Plains Aquifer within the Laramie County Control Area must adjudicate their appropriations by November 30, 2017.  Wells that are not adjudicated by this date will be tagged, locked, and foreclosed from use until adjudication is complete.  If you question whether your well is subject to any of the above requirements, you may contact the SEO at the numbers above.
 
Appropriators are reminded that failure to comply with the Order could result in prosecution under Wyoming Statute § 41-3-616 and, if found guilty, a fine not to exceed $1,250.00 for each day of noncompliance after notice, or result in cancellation or suspension of the water right after notice and opportunity to be heard under Wyoming Statute § 41-3-937.
 
Additional information and guidance can be found at http://seo.wyo.gov  Thank you. 
 
 

State Engineer Orders Corrective Control in the Laramie County Control Area
 
Responding to mounting concerns over increasing development and use of groundwater resources in the Laramie County
Control Area (LCCA), State Engineer Pat Tyrrell issued an order on April 1, 2015 that will guide groundwater development
in that area for at least the next five years. 
 

 
 
 
 

 
 
The mission of the Wyoming State Engineer's Office and Board of Control is to provide for the general supervision and protection of both inter- and intra-state waters of Wyoming. This includes the appropriation, distribution and application to beneficial use of water as provided under the prior appropriation doctrine, and to maintain the flexibility within that framework to meet the changing needs of the citizens of Wyoming. The State Engineer's Office collects, analyzes, maintains and provides water related information for ensuring the appropriate management and regulation of Wyoming's water resources.