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Wyoming Water Rights Consulting celebrates 25 years

Written by Heather Loraas

Worland – Founded in 1992, Wyoming Water Rights Consulting, Inc. (WWRCI) is dedicated to helping clients with water rights, civil engineering and land surveying, according to Todd Rhodes, WWRCI owner and president.

“WWRCI provides professional services for agriculture industry members to help them understand, perfect and protect their water rights. We are excited to celebrate our 25th anniversary this year,” Rhodes says.

Over the last 25 years, WWRCI has seen Wyoming agriculture change and community dynamics shift, but Rhodes still enjoys working for Wyoming agriculturalists.

“Agriculture is very near and dear to my heart. I spent a lot of summers on my grandparent's farm as a young boy, so every opportunity to work for Wyoming farmers and ranchers is welcome,” states Rhodes.

With 80 to 85 percent of water in Wyoming used for agriculture, WWRCI’s clients are all over the state, and client properties border nearly all six neighboring states.

“Wyoming is WWRCI’s main focus, but some clients have property across state lines. We help those clients manage their water rights in both Wyoming and the adjacent state, which keeps us quite busy,” Rhodes adds.

Water rights

In arid states, water rights are critical because water is fundamental for agriculture, business, tourism and life, Rhodes notes, adding Wyoming water policies, laws and rights date back to territorial times.

“Most western states have very detailed and complex programs for water rights. Wyoming has extensive statutes and regulations governing water use. With diverse hydrology and landscapes, there is a lot of variability from one right to another and one stream to another. We find it very rewarding to help people navigate regulatory issues and protect their water rights,” says Rhodes.

Over the years, water demands have changed because new junior rights are added and senior, existing rights are modified to meet requirements. Water policy and law have also changed significantly.

“Water policies are continually changing to address societal changes and demands. Issues like new technology, smaller property sizes, multiple users and various new uses are why water rights need to be updated,” Rhodes adds.

WWRCI services

At WWRCI, water rights management isn’t the only service offered. Water measurement, surveying and civil engineering services are also provided for clients.

In 2007, the company added their land surveying division, which handles property surveys, ranch or farm boundaries, fence lines, subdivisions, easements and much more.

Their engineering division was brought to life in 2016 and offers a multitude of professional services for clients, including water resources work.

“We design water facilities, irrigation reservoirs, ditches, restore stream banks and anything regarding water diversion. We do a lot of rehabilitation work on facilities for clients, as well,” states Rhodes.

The future

WWRCI started as a one-man shop with Rhodes at the wheel and has steadily grown to a six-person team.

“To meet clients’ needs, WWRCI has added an engineer, land surveyor, geographic information system technician, survey technicians and computer-aided drafting technicians,” states Rhodes.

WWRCI strives to develop and grow based on the needs of their clientele by staying updated on water policies, utilizing current technology and implementing available water right changes and mechanisms.

“Water rights are a valuable asset, so WWRCI takes great care in managing those assets to suit our clients’ needs as their water needs grow and change,” Rhodes says.

In the future, Rhodes believes WWRCI will grow because they have the space to increase staff, a good position in the market and are prepared for changes and growth in clientele needs.

“Water and water rights are very valuable, and their importance will not diminish. The need to manage and perfect water rights will certainly increase,” he states.

He says everyone has their own water demands, which can cause dissention between neighbors, whether it’s in a subdivision or rural community.

“When it comes to water rights, having everything in order before difficulties arise or legal issues are presented helps clients deal with unforeseen challenges,” Rhodes adds.

“WWRCI takes water rights very seriously and works very hard on behalf of our clients,” Rhodes states.

25 years of business

Rhodes says the last 25 years have been very rewarding for WWRCI because there has been a lot of interest and appreciation for the services provided.

“It’s been wonderful. We get to see a lot of countryside most people don’t get to see and meet a lot of interesting people across Wyoming,” he adds.

For Rhodes, the problem solving aspect of his job has been the most rewarding because every property and water right is different and every situation is different.

“WWRCI has been blessed with a lot of good clients and amazing employees. Our staff believes in what we do and sees the importance of property rights, and we work well as a team to serve client’s needs,” he mentions.

Heather Loraas is assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at heather@wylr.net.