Wyoming looks at the future of water

The Joint Select Water Committee and the Water Development Commission look at studies and input for water infrastructure
Published: May. 12, 2023 at 12:31 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Thanks to ARPA funds, some long-awaited projects are finally getting some attention.

And these thirsty plans counties have been holding off on could finally be quenched.

The Joint Select Water Committee was at the Water Development Commission today, talking about infrastructure and the future of water.

The meeting on Thursday had officials, mayors and authorities talking about master plan studies for water infrastructure projects.

They discussed annexation water rights, conservation, groundwater and aging structures that need attention.

“We have to look at more regional approaches, which means we have to be good neighbors, get along and work together for the benefit of everyone,” said Sen. Cheri Steinmetz -Chair Select Water Committee- S.D. 3.

Some assessments have hit their 20, 50, or more-year reviews.

These studies are necessary to look at water quality capacity and priority.

ARPA dollars help, but with shrinking budgets due to inflation, less has to somehow go further to meet the needs of these communities.

“We look at the greatest need, the impact that they would procure, and that’s how we make our decision, and what it is going to be funded, and we look at the funds that are available,” said Larry Suchor, Water Development Commissioner District 2.

Some of these projects looked like Rawlins’ over 100-year-old wood water pipes and the water they treat for Sinclair.

“They (Rawlins) treat our water and send it back to our tank, and we distribute it from our tank out to our residents,” said Mayor Cullen Meeks of Sinclair, Wyoming.

There are also asbestos-lined water tanks and pipes in Greybull.

“These water issues are big, and they ain’t going to go away in the future... We got a lot of outdated water systems that we gotta take care of because we’ve got people living in these communities, and they need water,” said Cullen.

Many city officials came out from the furthest reaches of Wyoming to speak for their constituents others attended online.

But it was clear that water’s importance and value stay abundant and safe for generations to come.

These studies will go back for review, and if approved, they could receive additional funding from legislators.