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Casper – As a fourth-generation Wyomingite with a grandfather who homesteaded near Orin Junction in 1879, today Cheyenne agriculture attorney Harriet Hageman focuses her practice on representing ranchers, farmers and irrigation districts.
A large part of Hageman’s experience has been in trying to protect historical uses of water in Wyoming, and one threat she sees to historical use is instream flow.
“Instream flow laws were adopted in the late 1980s, and I think in every legislative session since then there has been at least one, and sometimes two, three, four or five, bills introduced to expand our instream flow laws,” said Hageman at the 10th Annual Doornbos Lecture Series at Casper College on March 1.
In addition to Wyoming water law, Hageman’s series of lectures featured private property rights, federal regulations, wolves and the U.S. Forest Service.
“I think a lot of people ask, why not have instream flows? Why do we fight it so hard? Why don’t we care about fish? Why don’t we care about protecting the environment?” said Hageman.
“Every year Trout Unlimited comes to me with a bill and asks me to support it in the state legislature, and I say I probably can’t, and here’s why: giving the North Platte River as an example, what happens between the time the water comes into our state and leaves is that we use and reuse that water seven times. If we do instream flow, we lose the ability to do that,” she explained.
“The folks at Saratoga and Encampment have very steep slopes, and they typically irrigate grass hay. It’s not a high-consumptive-use crop, and irrigation is for a limited time early in the irrigation season, and they’re typically done irrigating by mid-July. They throw lots of water on those lands, and the vast majority of that water comes back to the stream as return flow,” she further explained. “What that does is slow the water down. If it all comes through the state in spring runoff we’d fill the reservoirs very quickly, or it would be called through. The water wouldn’t be slowed down and it’d head to Nebraska much more quickly. If we slow that water down we can keep more water in our reservoirs and irrigate more lands.”
“Why don’t I care about fisheries and instream flow? It can be terribly disruptive to what has become a highly efficient system,” said Hageman. “When we use and reuse water seven times it not only benefits irrigators, but also municipalities. The city of Casper and most municipalities are later in priority because people settled ranches and farms before they settled in towns, so Casper, Douglas and others have late priority rights. If I have a farm, I can call the cities out from getting water.”
“The system works, and it’s become a very highly efficient system. When we do instream flows we bypass the system, and that water shoots straight through,” stated Hageman. “That’s why I’m always concerned about how instream flow laws work – people have to understand the consequences. It’s not as simple as saying we’re going to go out and protect fisheries – it actually affects the entire irrigation system.”
“But we do have an instream flow law, and the Wyoming Water Development Commission holds the water rights, and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department administers them,” said Hageman, adding that instream flow has not been exercised very heavily in the state of Wyoming.
“When you have a water right, if you want to do instream flow, you have to transfer that right to the Wyoming Water Development Commission,” she continued. “I was talking with a Game and Fish guy one day, and he was asking me to support more instream flow laws, and I asked him how many Game and Fish water rights have been transferred to instream flow, and he said none. I asked why, and he said they didn’t want to give up their water rights.”
Out of 90 applications for instream flow, 17 have proceeded to permit and two have been adjudicated, and Hageman said there has never been a call for regulation on an instream flow right.
“Instream flow rights have to be limited in geography,” she said of their scope. “We can’t have one over a long stretch of river because it would be so severely disruptive to the rest of the system. Instream flow rights are typically through a particular, identified, described section of the stream.”
Of other uses and demands on Wyoming’s water systems apart from instream flow, Hageman listed recreation, endangered and threatened species, municipalities and compact and decree compliance. However, she said she doesn’t consider recreation a consumptive use.
“The problem with recreation surfaces in places like the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, which is four million acre-feet and was built for the purpose of making sure Colorado and Wyoming can exercise their entitlements under the compact,” she stated. “We don’t have a lot of water demand in western Wyoming, but what I’ve found in addressing anything associated with that reservoir is a strong outcry from the recreationist community about any action affecting levels. The reservoir was built for irrigation and municipal purposes, all these reservoirs were. They’re awfully nice to have for recreation, but they were built for irrigation and flood control – that’s what built them and paid for them. Recreation is a nice byproduct, but people have to recognize the primary use.”
“As municipalities grow, we’ll have to transfer more ag uses to our municipalities. Fortunately in Wyoming our water rights run with the land,” said Hageman. “If you go to Colorado you can see what happens when you can sell that water. In Colorado you can buy water for $17,000 to $20,000 per acre-foot, while ag use out of Glendo is five dollars per acre-foot. There’s a dramatic difference in value for irrigation, municipal or industrial uses between the two states. The water market in Colorado is extreme, and we don’t have that in Wyoming, and that’s good. But at some point we’ll see something different, and this is where the value is for ag producers, and why they need to protect and use their water, because that’s the biggest value on their property.”
Hageman said endangered and threatened species are where she’s seeing the fight for control of water.
“In Nebraska we have the Program, which is a $225 million document outlining an agreement between three states – Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming – for the protection of threatened and endangered species in central Nebraska, and Wyoming’s share is about 10 percent. It was negotiated over an eight-year period, and it describes the manner in which we’ll manage the Central Platte River for the benefit of the species,” she said.
“We’re limited in what our development can be in North Platte River system to what was existing July 1, 1997. Under the Program we donate both water and money for recovering the species, and it gives regulatory certainty for 13 years so we can protect our reservoirs, municipal and industrial demands and irrigators. In about five more years we’ll start the fight all over again, and next time they’ll want more water. This rolls from one document to the next, and people like me fight to make sure we can protect what we have,” she stated.
Hageman said she finds instream flow, consumptive use and all facets of Wyoming water law very interesting. “There’s a lot of history tied up in it,” she said.
Christy Martinez is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Rock Springs – “We looked at the project three and a half years ago when Aaron Million first introduced it and we determined we couldn’t understand or believe anything he had to say to us, and we didn’t want to do business with him,” said Parker, Colo. executive director of the water and sewer district Frank Yeager at an April 30 presentation in Rock Springs.
    The project he spoke of was Aaron Million’s proposal to pipe several thousand acre-feet of Colorado’s unallocated water from Wyoming’s Flaming Gorge Reservoir to Colorado’s Front Range every year.
    “We’re a member of the South Metro Water Supply Authority, which includes 13 water providers on the Front Range of Colorado, most on the south end of Denver,” continued Yeager. “We’re tied to the Denver Basin aquifer system, and we service 350,000 people today from our groundwater, which is depleted on a daily basis. We’ve been looking all over Colorado and at this project in Wyoming, looking for the cleanest water we can find that’s a secure source of renewable water we can use on the Front Range of Colorado.”
    “We’re not looking at Wyoming water,” he explained to the group of Rock Springs citizens. “We’re looking at water in the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, but water that is Colorado’s entitlement under the Colorado River Compact.”
    “We don’t know how much water is available in the reservoir, how much it would cost to move the water or how many players are in the game. The first thing we did a year and a half ago was to come to Wyoming and start meeting with Tim in Cheyenne and water providers in Wyoming,” he said, referencing Tim Wilson, director of the Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities. “We want to form a coalition to work collaboratively to determine if there’s adequate water for a project, but not what Mr. Million proposed.”
    He said he doesn’t have any numbers yet or any hard facts on how the proposal would work, but he says his group is looking first at due diligence, to find what they truly believe to be the best source of water. “We need to spend the money and have our engineers work with the Bureau of Reclamation to figure out how much is actually available in the reservoir under Colorado’s entitlement.”
    “If we were to find there was adequate water in the reservoir to develop Colorado’s water, we’d like to work with Wyoming. We need to know what your needs are, and we hope, through due diligence, to sit down and talk one-on-one,” said Yeager, adding, “Is there something that benefits, you, us, the rest of Wyoming and the rest of Colorado?”
    “We’ve watched the way Million has proposed everything, and it’s been slipshod and out of bounds,” he said. “We’re looking at a project that would be totally a public entities project, with no privatization. We believe that in the long term any project that is successful will have local, public and federal dollars involved, because there’s no way Parker, Colo. can afford to pump all the way across Wyoming to Parker alone.”
    “We’re really here tonight to try to open a door to say we want to talk to you,” said Yeager. “We want to hear your concerns before we step off a cliff and start spending a lot of money and making more people angry. We’re all in this game together.
    “The downstream states are more than willing to let water flow out of Colorado and Wyoming, but we have entitlements under the compact, and we ought to work together to develop those compact rights.”
    Regarding Colorado’s generous use of water, an audience member commented that those on the Front Range should reduce their generous use of water and learn to live within their water budget and forego the “unreal lifestyle choices.”
    Yeager said, “We are going to be as conservative as we can in the use of water. We’re to the point now where we’re losing production in our wells, and if we’ve got to stop lawn watering, that’s what we’ll do. But it’s a standard of living, and as long as they pay for the water they use I won’t stop it unless I run out of water.”
    Harriet Hageman, attorney for the group, pointed out that Wyoming already supplies that kind of water to Las Vegas, Nev., Phoenix, Ariz. and California.
    Regarding using water from the Platte River system, Hageman said there are two issues with that idea. The first is the North Platte Decree entered in 1945 by the U.S. Supreme Court, which involved equitable apportionment on the North Platte. “There are only three of those cases in the U.S., and Wyoming is party to two of them,” she said.
    “On top of the Decree, we have the Program, which was forced upon us by the Endangered Species Act for endangered and threatened species in central Nebraska,” she noted. “Pursuant to the program, we are not allowed to increase use over 1997 conditions, and we have to mitigate an increase in use over that time.”
    Yeager noted that Million filed for three different areas of diversion from the Green River, calling those alternatives. “We have to look at taking water off the South Platte and look at what’s the least damaging alternative. Those will all have to be looked at before any water can be moved.”
    The South Platte water that is available for Colorado use, Yeager said, is not a good alternative because it would require too much reverse osmosis treatment to clean.
    “What I worry about as an attorney, Wyomingite and an Upper Basin person is finding a way we can come to some kind of a project, concept and way to benefit the people in this room and protect our rivers in Wyoming,” said Hageman. “This project takes water out of the tail end of Wyoming, but it does remove it from the basin and we lose return flow benefits. However, I think the bigger philosophical discussion needs to be, how can we come together to put together a project and ideas that will cut off the addicts down below with 12 shower heads in Las Vegas, some kind of a project to get the groups together to benefit upper basin states, instead of lower basin states.”
    “We’re trying to do this the right way and open the door for some dialogue,” said Yeager of the proposal. “That’s much better than people in the back of the room throwing spears at us. We want to open the door, take questions and hold our hands out and say let’s talk and see what we can do.”
    As the proposal moves forward the group will continue to draw together numbers and data. “We’re putting money together to look at the front end of this thing,” said Yeager.
    Christy Hemken is assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Casper – “I didn’t know how true it was when, back in April, I said I was looking forward to August,” says Bureau of Reclamation Wyoming Area Office Manager John Lawson when speaking of the 2010 water season on the North Platte River system.
“We’ve got water from one end of the basin to the other, and we’re trying to figure out what to do with it,” he says of the tremendous inflows central Wyoming experienced this spring.
“The system holds 2.8 million acre-feet, and on June 28 we had three million acre-feet in the system, because of the water spilling. Between June 1 and the end of September I’m attempting to evacuate one million acre-feet from the system,” says Lawson. “And we’ll still end with two million acre-feet in the system on Sept. 30.”
“When we started getting sustained inflows, we broke all historic records,” says Lawson. “At one point we had 20,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) coming into Seminoe, and we sustained over 19,000 cfs coming in for seven days. To put it in perspective, Guernsey Dam only holds 45,000 acre-feet, and in 24 hours we were receiving 40,000 acre-feet into Seminoe. We were basically getting a Guernsey Dam a day for seven days. Needless to say, the reservoir was filling at a dramatic rate.”
Lawson says Seminoe Reservoir holds 1.17 million acre-feet, and it was fast approaching 1.1 million. “I had to get this stopped, so we started releasing immediately. At one point we were releasing 16,000 cfs through the spillway at Kortes Dam through the Miracle Mile, and now we’ve got some work to do out there. All the nice fishing piers we had – they’re all gone,” he says.
In 1983 and 1984 high inflows there was an old wooden bridge on the Miracle Mile, and it was saved by cutting a new river channel on the right side of the bridge. “When I came here we had the new one designed and put in place, and I couldn’t remember what it was designed for, so I called the head designer, who’s retired now, and he said he thought it was 10,000 cfs, and I said it better not have been. We started ratcheting up the outflow, and we got to 16,000 cfs under the bridge, and we thought we might be able to crowd another 1,000, and I was prepared to tear out the right abutment to move water around the bridge,” explains Lawson.
He adds he was also concerned with the pine trees along the miracle mile, that their root systems might weaken and they’d head toward the bridge in the velocity of water that was flowing.
“So the 16,000 cfs outflow through the Miracle Mile meant that Pathfinder was going up, and we already knew we were running out of room,” says Lawson. “We started calculating how far we could drive Pathfinder up over the spillway, because the higher we could get Pathfinder built up over the spillway, the more storage space we had. Pathfinder holds 1.16 million acre-feet, and we had it close to 1.6 million acre-feet at the height of the spill. That’s when I started getting a hold of the emergency management people, from the head of Lake Mcconaughy and all points to Casper.”
“We didn’t really know where we were going. We were looking at the snowpack, and asking where it was coming from,” says Lawson. “What happened was the temperature dipped in April. It got cold and we didn’t have our normal runoff, the snow sat there and then we got more snow and rain. Then all the sudden it got really hot.”
“You cannot have a worse situation, than when you have cold that delays the runoff, then rain on top of snow. It’s your worst nightmare,” he says.
“On top of that, three years ago this September, in this system that was at three million acre-feet this year, we only had 700,000 acre-feet in the entire system,” says Lawson. “That’s how fast this thing has turned on us. Three years ago I was advising everyone that if we didn’t have a turnout we’d drain Pathfinder, and we’d have it as a flow-through.”
“We’re releasing 4,500 cfs out of Gray Reef right now, and we were releasing 7,000 cfs a little over a week ago. In Casper the flow got up to around 7,600 to 7,700 through Casper itself,” he says, adding that the only time the flow’s been higher was in 1983 when it almost reached 9,000 cfs. “I wasn’t looking forward to that, and I know that river has considerably changed and shrunk as far as capacity, and I knew the problems we had in ’83.”
“You’re seeing the water coming at you, and it won’t stop. For 20 days we had more than 12,000 cfs come into Seminoe, and we were trying to figure out where it was coming from and when it was going to stop,” he notes.
When Glendo Reservoir reaches the flood pool at 517,000 acre-feet the Corps of Engineers takes over releases. “They’re looking downstream at the flooding in Nebraska, and I’ve got no place to go, and they’re saying stack it. We got just under 720,000 acre-feet in Glendo before we got it stopped, and that was just over a week ago,” he explains.
“We’re releasing 7,000 cfs from Guernsey now, and we’ll release that much until the end of September. I will end this year with 300,000 more acre-feet than we even had last year, and I have to dump 200,000 acre-feet of ownership just to get it out,” he continues. “But I’m betting on the fact that we’ll have, even if it’s less than average next year, enough runoff to fill the ownership back up.”
Even releasing at that rate, Lawson estimates Glendo Reservoir won’t leave the flood pool until Aug. 7. “We’ll end Glendo this year with 240,000 acre-feet of water. Glendo was built to relocate Pathfinder water all winter, and we normally get Glendo down to 90,000 to 100,000 acre-feet by fall. This year I’ll sit at 240,000 acre-feet. I expect by May next year I’ll already be in the flood pool, easily.”
“We’re already running the numbers for next year. We ducked the bullet on this one, and we’re starting to figure out what kind of a bullet might come next year, and how we’re going to manage it,” he says. “It all came out good this year, and I’ve got a tremendous staff. We were here day and night running calculations, and people in the field 24/7 checking reservoir levels. If you’ve got a foot left on the spillway, in the middle of the night you want to make sure that gauge is working.”
“It’s a nightmare,” says Lawson of his job managing the North Platte River system, and others under his office. “It’s a nightmare, but it’s fun. But it’s still a nightmare.”
Christy Hemken is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Casper – “The value of your operation is directly tied to its water resources. I don’t care if you’re located in a desert, a high mountain pasture, or if you’re running center pivots; your agriculture unit is 100 percent dependant on your water resources, so we need to be extremely careful to protect those resources, and your ability to operate,” said Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) Water Committee chair Joe Glode during the committee meeting held Dec. 14 at the WSGA Winter Roundup.
“We need to be extremely careful to shine the bright light of the entire state of Wyoming when analyzing these proposed pieces of legislation and deciding whether to weigh in for or against them,” added Glode.
Among the legislation brought to the committee was a piece on temporary instream flow. WSGA previously held an “opposed” view on the proposed bill, and Scott Yates of Trout Unlimited provided an update on the bill and asked members to reconsider their opposition.
“We’ve worked the past four-plus years with Representative Rosie Berger to design what I would not call instream flow, but private land stream flow restoration,” explained Yates.
“This bill is functionally different than the 1986 instream flow statute we have on the books in Wyoming, where the state works with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Wyoming Water Development Commission and the State Engineers Offices in filing new water rights, justifying those water rights in the context of the statute and then basically creating a water right held by the state for instream flow purposes. Those are all post-1986 priority dates, and about 100 of those have been filed.
“What that statute doesn’t really provide is the ability for the private landowner to use their water right temporarily for stream flow purposes. It does a have a provision where the private landowner can permanently dedicate their water right to the state, but, as everybody knows, that’s not really a viable option for anybody, including trout fishers, in most cases, ” explained Yates.
“This bill tries to work with fisheries and provide long-term operational benefits for landowners with temporary instream flow. The bill is a lot like it was in 2009, and sets up a 10-year pilot project where we can do some of these temporary transactions. We will look at them, study them, and see how it works. The main difference between now and 2009 is this time we would only allow the temporary change between July 1 and Nov. 30.
“We made this change for a number of reasons. We got responses from many producers in the state saying they could still keep land in production and get the benefits of return flows from that water use, but later in the year when the water is lower and their operational flexibility perhaps increases, they might work on a transaction with a group like Trout Unlimited. We would actually pay them to not use their water for a certain time period after July 1, where we’ve analyzed that the fishery needs it and we’ve developed a market-based, financial transaction where they could then use that money instead of the water for that short time period every year for one, two or five years within that first 10-year pilot period,” explained Yates.
He added there would be injury analysis and a project wouldn’t be implemented if it injured another irrigator. Yates also noted the language is very similar to that involved in any other temporary use agreement.
“I feel that prior appropriations work quite well in Wyoming, and I don’t see where this will benefit agriculture at all. Once you let it go, prior appropriations can use it, and that’s the way it should be,” commented Wheatland area farmer and rancher Juan Reyes.
“He’s asking that protection of fisheries be added to the list of beneficiaries for temporary uses under state statute, and that’s something that doesn’t exist today. Yes, you can close your head gate, and he can come and give you money, and you can let your water run on down the stream. But, what he’s also asking for is to keep the water in the stream and call it through the reach of the channel, and take it down to the point of senior diversion, and at that point leave it and run it on down, thus calling out junior appropriators from above or below, depending on the reach you’re talking about,” explained Glode.
“My problem is that you are calling into question what I would call marginal lands. Those lands that have 1909 or 1910 water rights on them, and those lands are often the determining factor on whether or not you stay in business on a lot of places. If we’re going to fallow those lands, then I think we need to know what we’re doing. It is an extension of beneficial use, and another tool in the box of keeping water in the stream on the doctrine of prior appropriations,” added Glode.
“I would be opposed to this,” commented producer Rodger Schroeder of Chugwater. “We’ve got water rights on a small stream, and our earliest one is 1880. There’s one more two months ahead of us on appropriation, and that’s where they draw the line a lot of times. If he calls for that water, then lets it go instead of me, or someone above me, using it, you’re not refilling that ground aquifer that keeps that creek running. That water would already be gone, and when those higher meadows haven’t had water, your creeks are drier in the winter and you haven’t gained a thing.”
Producers also commented that out-of-state people come in and purchase large tracts of land, and they don’t have the same view of productive agricultural lands.
“They have a whole different view of how this world works, and armed with this type of information, they would wreak havoc on a number of operations,” noted Glode.
After an extensive comment and discussion period, attendees opted to maintain their position of “strongly opposed” to the proposed bill.
Heather Hamilton is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Casper – Upon the completion of the Pathfinder Modification project, which will raise the spillway 2.4 feet, Pathfinder Reservoir will be returned from its current 1.16 million acre-feet capacity back to its original 1.7 million acre-feet appropriation.
“The history of this project has been amazing,” says Wyoming Water Development Commission Director Mike Purcell of the modification project. “In the 1980s the State of Wyoming wanted to construct Deer Creek Dam for supplemental supplies for North Platte municipalities and in ’86 Nebraska sued Wyoming, as they thought the construction of Deer Creek Dam was a violation of the Decree.”
Purcell says there were simultaneous negotiations for an endangered species program. “That came to a head in the mid-’90s. We always knew the Endangered Species Act would come front and center on anything new, but in the mid-’90s it became apparent that we needed to address the endangered species issues even if we wanted to improve existing facilities.”
“Ultimately we solved the lawsuit and the endangered species were handled through the Platte River Recovery Implementation Plan, and all parties agreed we’d substitute the Pathfinder Modification project for Deer Creek Dam, and that’s how Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming and the Department of the Interior came to embrace the modification project,” says Purcell.
Under the endangered species plan, water captured in Pathfinder will move down to Lake McConaughy in central Nebraska, where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will release water as needed for the species.
“We’re up here modifying a reservoir to get water for endangered species some 500 miles downstream,” says Bureau of Reclamation Wyoming Area Manager John Lawson. “The whole goal of the program is to provide 130,000 to 150,000 acre-feet of flow to improve the target species in the Central Platte.”
Only in its first 13-year increment, the project’s ultimate goal is 417,000 acre-feet of water. Lawson says some will come from the Pathfinder Modification as Wyoming’s contribution, some will come from Lake McConaughy and some will come from the Tamarack Project, an underground reservoir, in eastern Colorado.
“We split the 54,000 acre-feet, and 30,000 of it became the environmental account – Wyoming’s contribution to the Platte River Recovery on behalf of our water users, who are all users faced with endangered species consultations, including the Bureau of Reclamation, municipalities and irrigation districts,” says Purcell.
After that was settled, the modification had to go before Congress to get the federal authorization changed for the water use, it had to go through the Wyoming Legislature for an $8.5 million appropriation and back again for perimission to export water to Nebraska. A mitigation plan for fisheries was put in place with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Bureau of Reclamation had to go before the Board of Control for a water right amendment expended to municipal and environmental uses.
The modification project also had to go through negotiations with upstream water users in Carbon County. “In essence, the 54,000 acre-feet of water rights say we get to store water under that priority, but it can’t make calls,” says Purcell. “it cannot call out the upper basin, where those users were concerned about potential additional water rights administration upstream.”
“The culmination of all this is that we’re accepting construction bids,” says Purcell, noting that the spillway has been “high and dry” for 26 years, and now that contractors will be on the spillway, “Mother Nature has decided to give us some grief.”
Running over Pathfinder’s existing spillway is a walkway, and under that is the existing low dam, or weir, used to raise the level of water upstream and regulate its flow.
“The weir is what we use to judge how much water is being passed downstream,” says Lawson. “We know by every tenth of a foot how much water is being passed downstream, and it worked rather well.”
“What the modification amounts to is building a new weir 2.4 feet higher than the existing,” says Lawson. “The amazing thing is that 2.4 feet will store 54,000 acre-feet of water.”
He puts that into perspective by noting that Guernsey Dam, further down the system, only holds 45,000 acre-feet of water maximum.
The new weir will be extended somewhat, allowing for a longer weir area that will allow the spillway to meet its requirements of what it needs to pass in a probable maximum flood. “By having a longer weir we have more surface area to pass water over, and in addition to that we’ll have a considerable amount of work with regard to rock removal and getting the spillway area cleared out for friction,” says Lawson.
Instead of a rough concrete block, the new weir will also be shaped with the dynamics of an airplane wing so more water can be passed over with less pressure.
“We told the contractors in the bid package that this spillway has to be operational again by April 1, 2011, because we don’t know what the future brings for next year,” says Purcell. “You’d have to suggest, with all the water we have right now, and the fact there’s not much demand on the system, a spill is very potential for next year.”
The contractors can start in August, get out in April and begin work again August 2011, if need be.
“The first thing they’ll do is blasting, because that will immediately increase the capacity of the spillway,” says Purcell. “And John Lawson and the Bureau of Reclamation need to know how much water spills, so we can’t really have a situation where half the new weir is in. It has to be an integral controlled area in preparation for next year.”
Christy Hemken is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..