Meeting Scheduled:

State Board of Examining Water Well Drilling Contractors and 

Water Well Pump Installation Contractors

A meeting of the State Board of Examining Water Well Drilling Contractors and Water Well Pump Installation Contractors is scheduled September 4, 2019 at 10:00 A.M. in the State Engineer's Office second floor conference room (Room W280), 2nd Floor West, Herschler Building, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

For a copy of the agenda, please contact Jimmy Gordon, Executive Director, at (307) 851-7770.

If you cannot participate in person, please feel free to call in at 877-875-6073.


Election Results:  Prairie Center Groundwater Control Area Advisory Board 

After tallying the votes from the July 10, 2019 Prairie Center Groundwater Control Area Advisory Board election, and verifying acres owned through the Goshen County Assessor's GIS website, the new advisory board members representing the Prairie Center Groundwater Control Area are Greg DesEnfants and Dylan Hager.


Election Results:  Platte County Groundwater Control Area Advisory Board  

After tallying the votes from the July 9, 2019 Platte County Groundwater Control Area Advisory Board election, and verifying acres owned through the online Platte County Property Tax site, the new advisory board members representing Districts 4 and 5 are:

District 4:  Jason Reyes

District 5:  Amy Miller


Election Results:  Laramie County Groundwater Control Area Advisory Board 

After tallying the votes from the July 2, 2019 Laramie County Groundwater Control Area Advisory Board election, and verifying acres owned with the Laramie County Assessor's GIS website, the new advisory board members representing Districts 4 and 5 are:

District 4:  Ty Lerwick

District 5:  Brady Petsch

Congratulations to our new board members - we look forward to seeing you at our next advisory board meeting.

Our thanks and gratitude to those members who served on the Board - both in the past and present.  We appreciate you and your work!


Availability of Drought Contingency Planning Presentations


The seven Colorado River Basin States (including Wyoming), the Department of the Interior and water entitlement holders in the Lower Basin have been working diligently on a set of draft Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) agreements to respond to ongoing historic drought conditions and to reduce the likelihood of Colorado River reservoirs – particularly Lake Powell and Lake Mead – further declining to critical elevations.  Negotiations on the DCP agreements are nearing completion. The DCP agreements include an Upper Colorado River Basin DCP and a Lower Colorado River Basin DCP.  

The Upper Basin DCP is designed to: a) protect critical elevations at Lake Powell and help assure continued compliance with the 1922 Colorado River Compact, and b) authorize storage of water conserved in the Upper Basin that could help establish the foundation for a Demand Management Program that may be developed in the future.

The Lower Basin DCP is designed to: a) require Arizona, California and Nevada to contribute additional water to Lake Mead storage at predetermined elevations and, b) create new flexibility to incentivize additional voluntary conservation of water to be stored in Lake Mead. 

The Basin States seek to finalize the Upper and Lower Basin DCPs prior to the end of 2018 through the key DCP agreements identified below and federal legislation. 

Pat Tyrrell, Wyoming State Engineer, recently held several public meetings across the Green River Basin, as well as a publicly available webinar to inform the public about the current DCP efforts.  For those that were not able to participate in these events, but are still interested in the topic, there are two options linked below.  First, the presentation used during the public meetings is available to download at the link below.  In addition, a link to a recording of the webinar presentation is also available below.

Webinar Video

• Webinar Slides

The documents that make up the DCP efforts can be downloaded at the links below.



 

Colorado River Drought Contingency Planning
Final Review Draft Agreements

The seven Colorado River Basin States (including Wyoming), the Department of the Interior and water entitlement holders in the Lower Basin have been working diligently on a set of draft Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) agreements to respond to ongoing historic drought conditions and to reduce the likelihood of Colorado River reservoirs – particularly Lake Powell and Lake Mead – further declining to critical elevations. Negotiations on the DCP agreements are nearing completion. The DCP agreements include an Upper Colorado River Basin DCP and a Lower Colorado River Basin DCP.

The Upper Basin DCP is designed to: a) protect critical elevations at Lake Powell and help assure continued compliance with the 1922 Colorado River Compact, and b) authorize storage of water conserved in the Upper Basin that could help establish the foundation for a Demand Management Program that may be developed in the future.

The Lower Basin DCP is designed to: a) require Arizona, California and Nevada to contribute additional water to Lake Mead storage at predetermined elevations and, b) create new flexibility to incentivize additional voluntary conservation of water to be stored in Lake Mead.

The Basin States seek to finalize the Upper and Lower Basin DCPs prior to the end of 2018 through the key DCP agreements identified below and federal legislation.


The draft DCP agreements described above are available for download at the links below or from the State Engineer’s website

We would like to remind everyone that the State Engineer’s Office will be holding a series of public meetings on this topic during the week of October 8, 2018. Additional information can also be found on the State Engineer’s website at seo.wyo.gov. For those that can’t attend the public meetings, we will also be doing the same presentation via webinar on Monday, October 15 @ 3:00 pm. To participate, please use the following link and call-in information.


 

State Engineer’s Office to Hold Public Meetings on Drought
Contingency Planning in the Colorado River Basin.

State Engineer Pat Tyrrell will be discussing drought contingency planning efforts in the Colorado River Basin at three upcoming public meetings. The Colorado River is now experiencing its 19 th year of drought. Since 2013, officials in the seven Colorado River Basin states, the Department of Interior and the Republic of Mexico have been working on drought contingency plans. Plans in the Lower Basin states of Arizona, California and Nevada have been developed separately, but parallel to, plans developed in the Upper Basin states of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Plans in both basins are now nearing completion.

The State Engineer will discuss the need for these plans, describe the contemplated plans, and answer questions at the three public meetings listed below.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018 – Baggs, Wyoming
Valley Community Center, 255 W. Osborne St., Baggs, WY
Conference Room
Time: 6:00 - 8:00 PM

Wednesday, October 10, 2018 – Rock Springs, Wyoming
Western Wyoming Community College, 2500 College Dr., Rock Springs, WY
Lecture Hall #1005
Time: 6:00 - 8:00 PM

Thursday, October 11 – Pinedale, Wyoming
Sublette County Library, 155 S. Tyler Ave., Pinedale, WY
Lovatt Room
Time: 6:00 - 8:00 PM

For additional information, please feel free to contact Steve Wolff at (307) 777-1942 or steve.wolff@wyo.gov.
 

TEMPORARY OR “TIME LIMITED” GROUNDWATER PERMITS


Many permit applications request the beneficial use of Wyoming’s groundwater for miscellaneous uses that are considered by the State Engineer to be temporary in nature.  Upon approval, the permits are valid for a specified period of time and are termed “temporary” or “time-limited” permits.  These permits have an automatic cancellation date which is specified in the Additional Conditions and Limitations attached to the permit.  If an extension of time is not requested (and approved by the State Engineer) prior to the cancellation date, the permit is cancelled.   

Examples of temporary or time-limited uses authorized by permits include water supply wells for the oil and gas industry, mine dewatering, highway construction, gravel pits, and water hauling.

Adjudication of temporary or time-limited permits is not required. 

As the appropriator, it is your responsibility to know and understand the content of the conditions and limitations attached to your permit. 

If you have a temporary or time-limited permit and have questions regarding potentially extending the automatic cancellation date, please call the Ground Water Division at (307) 777-6163 before the cancellation date.  



BOARD OF CONTROL POLICY ON CUTOFF DATE FOR FILING PETITIONS

At  their May 2018 meeting, the Board of Control adopted a policy extending the cutoff  date for new petitions from 30 days prior to the start of the meeting to 45 days prior.  This policy goes into effect for the November 2018 Board meeting.  The petition cut-off dates for the remainder of 2018 are as follows:

August 2018 Meeting - July 20, 2018

November 2018 Meeting - September 21, 2018

 

STATE ENGINEER REVISES POLICY ON STOCK AND DOMESTIC WELLS

Since the early 1980s the State Engineer’s Office has required that stock watering wells applied for with a 25 gallons per minute (gpm) or less production rate be classified as a “miscellaneous -stockwatering pipeline” permit, which included a Beneficial Use (BU) Map upon adjudication, if the following conditions were met:

  1. The application showed more than four (4) stock tanks, and/or
  2. The application contemplated more than one mile of stock pipeline

By statute, such a “miscellaneous” use permit would then need to become adjudicated.  Frequently, appropriators complained about the cost of the BU map for adjudication, which required hiring a licensed surveyor or engineer.  If the typical 25 gpm stock well permit had less than 4 tanks, and less than a mile of distribution pipeline, neither adjudication nor a BU Map was required, and no certified survey was needed.

After significant review, the State Engineer has rescinded the previous policy and practice that required additional information, and higher cost, noting that a BU Map and adjudication will no longer be required for any single stock well proposing to use 25 gpm or less, regardless of the number of tanks or miles of conveyance (often by pipeline).  However, as a permit condition for those applications meeting the previous policy’s description of miscellaneous use, appropriators will still be required to provide the locations of their well and all points of use, but this information can be obtained using a hand-held Global Positioning System (GPS) device.  The primary requirement is that the well produce no more than 25 gpm at all times, a value the appropriator may be asked to verify during a field inspection. 

Similarly, the State Engineer has rescinded the previous policy and practice which limited domestic use filings to no more than one well per three single family dwellings. Once again, in addition to compliance with the Regulations and Instructions of the SEO relating to groundwater, the primary requirement is that flow from a single well produce no more than 25 gpm at all times or a miscellaneous filing will be required. Further, applications which propose to supply more than three single family dwellings with one well will be subject to the same permit condition described above for stock use.

Press Release 

Memorandum

 

Pilot System Water Conservation Program RFP Released
OCTOBER 2, 2017

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 2018.  Facing declining levels in Lakes Powell and Mead, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and major water providers that depend on the Colorado River Basin supplies have made available money 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 fourth 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.

For questions, please contact Charlie Ferrantelli (charlie.ferrantelli@wyo.gov307-777-6151) or Steve Wolff (steve.wolff@wyo.gov307-777-1942).

There will be an informational meeting on November 21st at 10 a.m. at the Pinedale Library  

Wyoming's Press Release

Upper Colorado River Commission RFP

Application


BEAR RIVER COMPACT REVIEW

State Engineer and Bear River Commission Announce Public Meeting Schedule for Upcoming Bear River Compact 20-Year Review.

Press Release



MEETING OF THE WYOMING STATE BOARD OF CONTROL

PUBLIC NOTICE

A special meeting has been set for the Wyoming State Board of Control, to commence on September 15, 2017, at 1:30 p.m., at the State Engineer’s Conference Room, 122 West 25th Street, Herschler Bldg. 1 West, Cheyenne, Wyoming. The agenda for this meeting is for the purpose of adopting Rules for Chapter 1, Fee Schedule, for the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office and Wyoming State Board of Control as a result of legislative changes in 2017.

If you have any questions, please contact Cheryl Timm, Wyoming State Board of Control, 1W, Herschler Building, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002. 307-777-6899. cheryl.timm@wyo.gov.

Notice PDF


NOTICE OF INTENT TO PROMULGATE RULES

The Wyoming State Engineer’s Office and the State Board of Control intend to promulgate rules to amend Chapter 1, “Fees”, of the State Engineer’s Office’s rules. In 2017, the Wyoming Legislature amended multiple statutes which shifted the responsibility for payment of water right adjudication advertisement fees from the County where the water right is located to the appropriator who holds the water right. Both the Statement of Principal Reasons and the proposed rules can be viewed and/or downloaded from the State Engineer’s Office website at http://seo.state.wy.us/, or the Secretary of State Website at https://rules.wyo.gov/. A copy of the
proposed rules may also be obtained at the offices of the Wyoming State Board of Control, 122 West 25th Street, Herschler Building 1W, Cheyenne, WY 82002. If you have questions regarding the proposed rule changes, or to request a hard copy of any of the materials, please contact Nancy McCann at 307-777-5958.


The proposed rules will be open for public inspection and comment for at least 45 days, commencing on June 21, 2017, and ending on September 12, 2017. Any person may present their written comments on the proposed rules by emailing to seo.rules@wyo.gov. Any person may also send written comments on the proposed rules to the attention of Nancy McCann, Wyoming State Engineer’s Office, 122 West 25th Street, Herschler Building 1W, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002. Written comments must be filed no later than September 12, 2017.

Notice of Intent

Proposed Rule Change Packet



BOARD OF CONTROL ADOPTED EMERGENCY RULES FOR FEES

The Wyoming State Board of Control adopted Emergency Rules for Chapter 1, “Fees”, of the General Agency, Board or Commission Rules. The Emergency rules were implemented on July 13, 2017 and are in effect until November 10, 2017. The Board of Control will begin the regular rule making process to make the rule permanent. This Emergency rules process became necessary after
legislative changes that amended multiple statutes became effective on July 1, 2017. The 2017 Wyo. Sess. Laws 241 (Ch. 99) shifted the responsibility for payment of water right adjudication advertisement fees from the County where the water right is located to the appropriator who holds the water right. The Emergency rules were adopted and implemented to reflect those statutory changes
to allow for the collection of the appropriate fee from appropriators and to proceed with water right adjudications. “These emergency and, ultimately, permanent rules are required due to the passage of HB 47,” State Engineer Pat Tyrrell said. “Without them, we’d be non-compliant with the revised statutes and unable to accept advertising fees from the proper source.”

The adjudication cost of the Proof Fees for Surface Water Proofs and Ground Water proofs is now $70.00 for each proof. The proof fee covers the cost of recording the certificate in the county clerk's office and also pays for the cost of advertising.

Contact: Wyoming State Engineer’s Office
Herschler Bldg. 1W
Cheyenne, WY 82002
307-777-6150

Fee Schedule



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.


Bear River Original Compact Storage Allocation Policy Memo (July 10, 2017)

 

MEETING OF THE WYOMING STATE BOARD OF CONTROL

PUBLIC NOTICE

A special meeting has been set for the Wyoming State Board of Control, to commence on July 5, 2017, at 8:30 a.m., at the State Engineer’s Conference Room, 122 West 25th Street, Herschler Bldg. 1 West, Cheyenne, Wyoming. The agenda for this meeting is for the purpose of adopting Emergency Rules for Chapter 1, Fee Schedule, for the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office and Wyoming State Board of Control as a result of legislative changes in 2017.

If you have any questions, please contact Cheryl Timm, Wyoming State Board of Control, 1W, Herschler Building, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002. 307-777-6899. cheryl.timm@wyo.gov.

 

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.

 

First Amended Order of the State Engineer Horse Creek Basin (May 31,2017)
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 


Horse Creek Clarification (April 24, 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

 
 

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.
 
Wyoming and the Colorado River: A Report (2016)
 

LICENSED WATER WELL DRILLING CONTRACTORS REQUIRED TO SUBMIT FORM U.W. 6
(STATEMENT OF COMPLETION AND DESCRIPTION OF WELL OR SPRING) 

Information provided on completed U.W. 6 Forms, or "Statement of Completion and Description of Well or Spring" forms, allows the State Engineer's Office (SEO) to collect and maintain accurate details regarding the construction of water wells.  

In support of the Licensing Board's efforts to require licensed water well drilling contractors to submit the forms to the SEO, the State Engineer requested and received the advice and consent of the Board of Control to require such reports on November 18, 2015.  

Effective September 9, 2016, licensed water well drilling contractors are required to submit completed U.W. 6 Forms to the SEO within 90 days of well completion.  Wyoming Statute defines completion of a water well as "...when it is possible to install a pump and pump water.  In the case of an artesian well, completion is the time when the drill rig is moved off of the drilling site. 

Water Well Drillers Memo



Montana Cancels Tongue River Reservoir Call


On April 19, 2016, the State of Montana made a call under the Yellowstone River Compact to fill Tongue River Reservoir. That call applied to Wyoming water rights with a priority date later than January 1, 1950. Since Montana made its call, the Wyoming
State Engineer’s Office has communicated with Tongue River Basin water users, monitored water use in Wyoming, and curtailed water use by post-1950 water rights. On May 2, 2016, Montana cancelled its call. Accordingly, any water user in Wyoming’s Tongue River Basin may use water in accordance with the user’s water right until or unless otherwise regulated or notified by a Wyoming Water Hydrographer/Commissioner.

State Engineer Pat Tyrrell said that unlike last year when Montana cancelled the call after Tongue River Reservoir filled, Montana officials this year determined, under current snowpack and runoff conditions, that the reservoir will fill without continuing the call for regulation. “In that regard, I very much appreciate Montana’s proactive decision and their informing us so that Wyoming appropriators with post-compact rights wouldn’t be further curtailed under an interstate regulatory event. We are glad it appears Tongue River Reservoir will fill, which is beneficial to water users in both states.”

 

Governor Appoints David Schroeder as Division II Water Superintendent

Governor Matt Mead has appointed David Schroeder as the new Water Division II Water Superintendent in Sheridan.  Schroeder, who worked for the State Engineer’s Office Water Division II from 2005 to 2014, replaces Carmine Loguidice, who retired March 8th with over 28 years service.  Schroeder will start April 11, 2016.

The Division II Superintendent is based in Sheridan, WY and oversees water administration in the Tongue River, the Belle Fourche, the Powder River, Cheyenne River and all tributaries within those drainages.

“Water Division II has unique challenges, for example operations under the Yellowstone River Compact following the litigation with Montana.  I look forward to David’s contributions in this matter and others,” Governor Mead said.

The Superintendent supervises water commissioners’ administration and regulation of waters and is a member of the constitutionally created State Board of Control, which is responsible for adjudicating and modifying Wyoming water rights.

State Engineer Patrick Tyrrell congratulated Schroeder on his appointment. “David played an important role in the highly visible MT v. WY lawsuit.  That experience I’m sure helped prepare him for what will be a very important role moving forward in Division II,” Tyrrell stated.  “He is well qualified and I welcome his contributions to Water Division II.”  Tyrrell asks that constituents in Water Division II who have water-related questions for this office contact Mr. Schroeder or his staff at the Sheridan office at 307-674-7012.

Press Release PDF



Governor Mead Names Three to Colorado River Positions

Governor Matt Mead has selected three Wyoming citizens to serve in positions that support Wyoming’s participation in the management of the Colorado River.  The three are being named, in part, to fill positions that were previously held by Dan Budd, who passed away in September.

Mr. Randy Bolgiano and Mr. Keith Burron have been named as Alternate Wyoming Commissioners to the Upper Colorado River Commission (UCRC).  Where previously Wyoming had two Alternate Commissioners, there now will be three due to the rising importance to Wyoming of water supply and use issues in this basin.  The UCRC is an interstate, administrative agency established by the Upper Colorado River Basin Compact of 1948 (Upper Basin Compact).  UCRC members consist of a Commissioner representing each of the four Upper Division States of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming (Upper Division States) and a Commissioner appointed by the President of the United States who serves as the Chair of the Commission.  The Commission assists the Upper Division States in developing their apportionments of Colorado River water pursuant to the Colorado River Compact of 1922 and the Upper Basin Compact, and has specific responsibilities to assist in implementing the Upper Basin Compact consistent with laws of the Upper Division States.  Benjamin Bracken of Green River continues to serve in the third Alternate Commissioner position.

Mr. Bolgiano is a rancher from Boulder, Wyoming and has been active in the Green River Basin on water and other natural resource activities for more than two decades.  Mr. Burron is an attorney for Crowley Fleck in Cheyenne focusing predominantly on water rights, natural resources, public lands, water quality, oil and gas, and regulatory matters. Mr. Burron has been an active member of the Colorado River Water Users’ Association for almost 20 years years. The two will serve on the Commission along with Wyoming’s Commissioner, State Engineer Patrick Tyrrell, and Ben Bracken of Green River, also an Alternate Commissioner.

Governor Mead has also named Mr. Chad Espenscheid of Big Piney to serve as one of three Wyoming representatives on the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Forum (Forum).  Mr. Espenscheid is a rancher and small business owner.  Created in 1973, the Forum is an organization of the seven Colorado River Basin states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.  The purposes of the Forum are to coordinate salinity control efforts among the states, coordinate with federal agencies on the implementation of the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program, work with Congress on the authorization and funding of the Program, act to disseminate information on salinity control and otherwise promote efforts to reduce the salt loading to the Colorado River.

For questions, please contact Mr. Steve Wolff at 307-777-1942 or at steve.wolff@wyo.gov

Downloadable Press Release



 Montana Cancels Tongue River Reservoir Call

21 May, 2015

On April 10, 2015, the State of Montana made a call under the Yellowstone River Compact to fill Tongue River Reservoir. That call applied to Wyoming water rights with a priority date later than January 1, 1950. Since Montana made its call, the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office has communicated with Tongue River Basin water users, monitored water use in Wyoming, and curtailed water use by post-1950 water rights. On May 21, 2015, Montana cancelled its call. Accordingly, any water user in Wyoming’s Tongue River Basin may use water in accordance with the user’s water right until or unless otherwise regulated or notified by a Wyoming Water Hydrographer/Commissioner. 



Governor Appoints Kevin Payne as Division 4 Water Superintendent

 

Governor Matt Mead has appointed Kevin Payne as the new Division 4 Water Superintendent. Payne served as Assistant Superintendent of Water Division 4 and replaces Jade Henderson who retired February 18, 2015.  Payne has nearly 16 years of service with the State Engineer’s Office.  

“The Division Superintendent plays a vital role in water management. Kevin has served as the interim Superintendent since February – I believe Kevin will do a good job,” Governor Mead said.

The Division 4 Superintendent is based in Cokeville, WY and oversees water administration in the Snake River, the Bear River, the Green River and all tributaries within those drainages. 

The Superintendent supervises water commissioners’ administration and regulation of waters and is a member of the constitutionally created State Board of Control, which is responsible for adjudication of Wyoming water rights.

State Engineer Patrick Tyrrell congratulated Payne on his appointment. “Kevin’s service to the agency and our constituents has been outstanding and I look forward to working with him in his important new role,” Tyrrell stated.  “He is well qualified and I welcome his contributions to Water Division 4.”  Tyrrell asks that constituents in Water Division 4 who have water-related questions for this office contact Mr. Payne. You may continue to contact the Cokeville office at 307-279-3441.


Press Release Download


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. 
 
  

Big Horn Symposium

For those interested in live streaming of the Big Horn Symposium being held in Riverton on September 11th and 12th, 2014, please click the following links.

Big Horn General Adjudication Lawsuit


On Friday, September 5, 2015 in Worland, District Court Judge Robert Skar signed the final documents related to the closing of the Big Horn General Adjudication lawsuit.  The three decrees signed include one on records retention, one closing the Phase III portion of the general adjudication, and the final overall Big Horn decree.  While appeals of various aspects of Friday’s actions may come forth, the final decree signals a close to some 37 years of litigation and adjudication efforts.

Phase I of the case dealt with the quantification of Tribal Awards on the Wind River Indian Reservation.  In total, those awards included approximately 290,000 acre-feet for presently or historically irrigated lands, and 209,000 acre-feet of “futures” awards for five identified but yet-to-be-constructed irrigation projects.  All Phase I awards were given a priority date of July 3, 1868, and comprise now the most senior rights in Division III.  With irrigated agriculture as the primary use for Tribal awards, the court also recognized subsumed uses including stock, domestic, municipal and commercial purposes.  Phase II of the case adjudicated other federal non-tribal rights, such as those used on national forests and BLM lands.  The Phase II reserved rights have priorities that range from dating back to the creation of the Shoshone and Big Horn National Forests to as recent as 1982-1983.  Phase III included adjudication of state water rights of various priorities that were unadjudicated as of 1984.  Included in Phase III was adjudication of over 4,600 surface water permits, including permit 7300 serving Midvale, Riverton Valley, and LeClair Irrigation Districts.  Permit 7300 is the single largest direct flow permit in the State of Wyoming.  In addition, Phase III also included numerous groundwater rights.

“The case took so long because of its sheer size,” noted State Engineer Pat Tyrrell.  “Between the three phases, the adjudication efforts needed for roughly a quarter of the state, and awaiting the outcome of seven Wyoming Supreme Court decisions, it simply couldn’t occur much quicker.  A similar general adjudication of the Snake River Basin in Idaho took about the same amount of time, and they are just finishing up too.”

Tyrrell also indicated that a number of positive things come from the process and the final decree.  “All state water rights in the Wind/Big Horn River system with priority dates of 1984 and earlier, if not adjudicated by that time, now are.  That’s a big deal.  This is the only water division in the state having gone through a full general adjudication, so its records have been largely cleaned up.  Likewise, the priority and quantity of all federal tribal and non-tribal rights are now known.  The uncertainty over what comprised these rights has been removed.”

Looking forward, the final decree means that adjudications formerly sent to the district court for interlocutory decisions will now revert to the more traditional Board of Control evaluation and adjudication.  Changes in existing rights and awards will also go before the Board.  In performing necessary administrative functions post-decree, the State Engineer’s Office will continue to manage water in cooperation with the office of the Tribal Water Engineer.  


 
 Statement of Completion and Description of Well or Spring (U.W. 6 Forms)
        

As many folks are learning, the State Engineer’s Office has developed an online permitting system called e-Permit. Now in its seventh year, this system allows appropriators to research water rights, but also allows them to submit applications as well as Statement of Completion (S.C.) Forms (Form U.W.6). Furthermore, e-Permit also provides a mechanism for water well contractors to submit S.C. Forms. The S.C. Form reports information regarding well construction to the State Engineer’s Office which is critical for our understanding of groundwater appropriations within Wyoming.

In general, e-Permit contains fields which are analogous to the fields on our paper forms; however, e-Permit requires certain fields to be filled in before accepting an electronic form.  These fields were identified early in development of e-Permit and were chosen based on historic recognition of the minimum basic information necessary to describe Ground Water rights within Wyoming.

The Ground Water Division (Division) still accepts paper forms and they continue to outpace electronic forms.  Over the past several years, the Division has accepted paper forms which do not necessarily contain all information which an e-Permit submittal requires. Instead, the Division preferred to contact appropriators to obtain the missing data.  Unfortunately, this data collection effort consumes time which should be devoted to processing the forms, and the data collection effort has created a two-year backlog for S.C. Form review.  This is especially unfair to those appropriators submitting complete forms.  All groundwater appropriators deserve a timely response to submittals and a timely review of S.C. Forms.

Consequently, the Division will no longer be accepting paper S.C. Forms which do not contain the minimum information required by the e-Permit system.  If the Division receives S.C. Forms which are not complete, they will be returned to the sender with a letter explaining the required fields.  This will result in a more streamlined process.  The Division appreciates everyone’s patience and understanding as we implement a process to streamline S.C. Form review.

 


CONVERTING COAL BED METHANE WELLS TO DOMESTIC AND/OR STOCK WELLS

January 21, 2014

 

Updated March 20, 2014

 

Coal bed methane wells are wells drilled into a coal seam to capture and produce gas. The process includes pumping water to the surface to release the gas. As gas production subsides the wells are either reclaimed, or in some cases can be converted for use as a water source. Although coal bed methane wells are scattered throughout the state, the majority of wells are in northeast Wyoming.

 

As agency directors in charge of managing the State of Wyoming’s non-federal mineral and water resources, the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Supervisor Grant Black, and the State Engineer Patrick Tyrrell have written a guidance letter to explain the details of the proper conversion of coal bed methane wells for domestic and stock use. 

 

Landowners may be approached by CBM well operators with an offer to transfer well to the landowner and at the same time allowing release of the WOGCC bond on the well(s) and possibly the operator of the responsibility of plugging, abandoning and reclaiming the well. There are other cases where a landowner is interested in taking responsibility for an orphaned CBM well and converting it for use as a stock or domestic well. “These conversions, at their core, are something we support”, say Supervisor Black and State Engineer Tyrrell. “It makes use of an existing asset, can provide water for people and animals, and can have positive benefits for wildlife, including sage grouse”.

 

The questions become those of scope, process, and information. Questions for consideration include: How many wells should be converted in a defined area? What do the landowner and operator have to do with both our agencies to make sure the conversion is acceptable? What happens to the wellbore, and any associated liability, if turned over to a landowner and never recompleted or fully plugged and abandoned? Converting wells without analysis and proper approval will lead to potential liabilities for landowners and the potential risk that may be imposed upon mineral and groundwater resources.

 

The guidance letter will be posted on the web site of the two agencies. Links to both sites can be found on the State of Wyoming website. The guidance letter is two pages with an additional page as an attachment listing the steps and actions necessary to transfer a well.

 

 

You may contact the Cheyenne office at 307-777-6150.


SEO Internal Guidance: Conversion of Coalbed Methane (CBM) Wells to Water Wells Application Processing 

 

Press Release

 

Conversion of Coal Bed Methane (CBM) Wells to Water Wells - Guidance Letter

 

Udpated Process Required for the Conversion of a CBM Well to Other Uses (3/20/2014)

 

Land Owner Release Form (1/21/2014)

  

Public Outreach Meeting: CBM Orphaned & Abandoned Wells - Transfer of Wells, Pits and Reservoirs, April 2, 2014

 



GREEN BASIN WATER USERS MEETING


 


 

State Engineer Orders Corrective Controls in the Horse Creek Basin

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - Responding to concerns over increasing conflicts between surface water and groundwater resources in southeast Wyoming, State Engineer Pat Tyrrell issued an order today that will limit groundwater use for the next three years in the LaGrange area while the area’s groundwater and surface water uses are re-appraised.

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 order, Tyrrell took into account concerns voiced by area water users, as expressed at a public hearing in LaGrange on April 12, 2013.

In the order, Tyrrell calls 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 will be limited to 12 inches per year for the next three years (starting in 2014), and a total of 36 inches over that period. Some flexibility within the 3-year period is allowed. All groundwater wells permitted for over 25 gallons per minute will also be required 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 also be required to have acceptable control and measurement capabilities. 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 of 2013-2014, 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 Order is in effect for a period of three years, after which these conjunctive management measures will be reassessed. Therefore, the current order focuses 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. The order will be posted on the State Engineer’s website on Monday, July 22, 2013.







GROUNDWATER MONITORING WELLS NO LONGER REQUIRE PERMITS

The State Engineer rescinded the January 4, 2005, "Policy Memo:  Permitting Requirements for Groundwater Monitoring Wells", effective March 12, 2013.  The Ground Water Division will no longer require permits for monitoring wells - regardless of the casing size.  The Water Well Minimum Construction Standards (Chapter 2, Section 2 (ww)), defines a monitoring well as, "A groundwater level observation well or a well from which water samples are retrieved for water chemistry analysis."  Therefore, there is no production of water for beneficial use and a monitoring well will not require a permit.

Wyoming State Board of Control receives final approval for proposed rules amendments - October 29, 2012 

On October 29, 2012 Governor Matt Mead gave final approval to a series of amendments to the Rules and Instructions of the State Board of Control.  This completes an update to the Board Rules which has been ongoing for the last couple of years.  

The current Rules can be found at: