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Water Sources and Uses in Wyoming Essay

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Water Sources and Uses in Wyoming With today’s drought situations, it is more important than ever to be aware of the water sources in Wyoming as well as the various uses of the water and the amount of usable water that is available compared to the amount that must be used. This paper will not only inform about those uses and numbers, but also the highly debated HB 19 bill and the four major river basins in the western part of the country that supply Wyoming with it’s water. We will be talking about where and how Wyoming gets most of its surface water every year. Along with surface water, groundwater is also an important supply of water to the area which we count on for the environment, and it is important to try to conserve as much of…show more content…
However, Wyoming may only legally consume 6.4 million acre-feet annually because of various other laws such as interstate water rights which ensure that rivers and streams are not depleted by users upstream, but that people downstream will have water also (Wyoming’s Water Resources). There isn’t much to say about groundwater. It is found throughout the state in alluvial aquifers and bedrock aquifers. Alluvial aquifers are estimated to contain 10 million acre-feet of water and bedrock aquifers are estimated to store around 3 billion acre-feet. The ability to extract water from these sources depends highly on the factors of cost of recovery and the rate at which the water can reenter these aquifers ( Wyoming’s Water Resources). In the year 2003, legislature considered a bill known as HB 19, which was to allow temporary transfer of existing water rights for maximum use in the state. This means that cities and towns would be allowed to temporarily put a hold on water rights so that they could use the water for municipal uses. Most agricultural interest groups opposed this bill along with any change in Wyoming’s water rights for the fear that this would harm their interests and lead to more extreme changes in the future (Wyoming LAP book – 2004 Legislation). Water usage can be thought of as either consumptive or non-consumptive. Consumptive water use refers to any water that
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