From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 3, Number 13 - June 26, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Governor opposes transbasin diversion

by Cat Urbigkit

Western Wyoming water advocates recently voiced displeasure with a proposal from a state official to transfer water from the Green River to resolve water shortage problems in the North Platte River drainage and it appears the governor is in agreement with these concerns.

According to a February memo written by Wyoming Water Development Director Mike Besson, his office is conducting an in-house analysis to determine the feasibility of delivering Green River Basin water to the North Platte River Basin.

"The adverse drought-related consequences experienced by North Platte River water users, the potential for increased demand for water relative to Platte River endangered species issues, and Wyoming's water replacement obligations pursuant to the recent settlement of the Nebraska v. Wyoming lawsuit provide the incentive," Besson explained in the memo to Governor Dave Freudenthal. "The trick is to transport the water from areas of surplus, such as the Green River Basin, to areas in need of additional water, such as the North Platte River Basin."

Asked to respond to concerns about the proposal, Freudenthal spokeswoman Lara Azar said in an interview Friday: "The Governor does not support the transfer."

Azar said the governor "has always believed" that such transbasin diversions "are risky propositions and continue to be risky propositions."

Reaction in Sublette County to Besson's proposal was negative, with those involved in Green River Basin water-planning efforts especially chagrined that Besson bypassed a state water-planning group with the proposal. It appears without Freudenthal's approval, the proposal may be, as they say, dead in the water, but the issue is expected to be discussed at an upcoming meeting of the Green River Basin Advisory Group, the citizen committee which spent several years drafting the long-term plan for water use in this basin. That meeting is slated for July 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge.

See The Archives for past articles.

Copyright © 2002, 2003 Sublette Examiner
All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means must have permission of the Publisher.
Sublette Examiner, PO Box 1539, Pinedale, WY 82941   Phone 307-367-3203