From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 4, Number 26 - September 23, 2004
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Transbasin diversion study ongoing

by Cat Urbigkit

Wyoming Water Development Director Mike Besson said in an interview Tuesday that his agency has not yet completed its internal study focused on the possibility of a transbasin diversion of water from the Green River to the North Platte.

"It's still not done," Besson said, since work on that study is "filler" for when his staff has slack time from other work.

"But we need to get it done," Besson said, expressing hope that it will be completed by some time this fall. But Besson said the schedule is dependent upon the staff's other workload.

"I wish we had as much water as work," Besson said.

WWDC staff have apparently been working on the transbasin diversion study for more than a year. A February 2003 memo from Besson to Governor Dave Freudenthal noted that water development engineers were analyzing several transbasin diversion alternatives to bring 30,000 to 50,000 acre-feet of Green River water to the North Platte Basin.

Alternatives include diverting water from the Little Sandy River and possibly from the East Fork of the New Fork River by gravity to the Sweetwater River. Other options include pumping water from Fontenelle Reservoir to the Sweetwater River and from the Green River below the City of Green River to the North Platte Basin near Rawlins.

On Tuesday, Besson said he expects the report from the study to be heavily scrutinized, so he wants to be sure that it is scientifically and technically correct before being finalized. The report will be released to Freudenthal and the Wyoming Water Develop Commission at the same time, Besson said.

"What they do with it is up to them," Besson said. "It's information."

At a water conference scheduled for late October in Casper, David Little of Denver Water is scheduled to give a 45-minute talk on the legal implications of transbasin diversions. His speech will be followed by one from Besson on water conservation.

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