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Why Wyoming water conservation and rights matters

The Select Water Committee meets Wednesday
Water is used in everything we do, but what happens if there’s not enough? As we continue to hear about drought seasons, the importance of water conservation in
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 10:29 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Water is used in everything we do, but what happens if there’s not enough?

As we continue to hear about drought seasons, the importance of water conservation increases.

As a headwaters state, Wyoming decides to do with its water, and its laws matter.

The Select Water Committee had a meeting Wednesday.

Their objective is to maximize water usage, clarify water rights, and oversee projects happening in Wyoming,

" What we do now to establish proper laws proper projects and uses of water just solidifies our ability to manage our water so that we can better utilize the water here in wyoming before it travels out of state,” said Rep. Evan Simpson, Chairman Select Water Committee.

As a headwaters state, rivers start in Wyoming and flow outwards.

As a result, we have agreements with neighboring states as to how much water Wyoming can use and how much we give.

With drought seasons extending, especially in the Colorado River Basin, it’s important that we use our water to its best benefit.

“Some of our neighboring states they will be hard pressed to have enough water so they are going to look to us for relief. And they cant demand more than what their water right is. Bu they can request us to curtail and to trim back so that we’re not wasting water to try to save as much for them as we can,” said Simpson.

As the state continues to grow, so does the need for water infrastructure.

“Utilize existing water rights in an instance where a curtailment or an inter-state call would ocurr that would allow the transfer of the rights from one use say irrigation to a municipal use and what they look like in a pilot program,” said Brandon Gebhart, State Engineer- State Engineer Office.

The committee will be discussing 20 to 30 upcoming water construction projects and a pilot program for the Green River Basin.

“Water is Wyoming’s gold...Water is the lifeblood of everything and maintaining our water rights and the way we use water is very important as we continue to grow in our state,” said Simpson.

The Select Water Committee will continue its meeting on Wednesday through Thursday.

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