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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Water scarcity is increasing worldwide and dramatically affecting first world nations such as Spain, Australia, and the United States. All nations are now starting to recognize that the world's water is a finite resource, and that resource is being drastically altered in both availability and quality by development, climate change and population growth. In the United States, the Colorado River is experiencing rapid declines in volume. Recent studies and data suggest that the changes in frequency, intensity, and timing of the availability of water will have substantial impact on the way we live our lives in the 21st century and beyond. As Letmathe Brakeck said, “I am confident that, under present
"If pumped out over the United States," Lexis writes, "the High Plains aquifer would cover all 50 states with one and one-half feet of water."
The Upper Basin States agreed in 1948 to a second interstate compact establishing their respective shares of water.[footnoteRef:40] These compacts paved the legal basis for the construction of a number of large reservoirs (i.e. Lake Mead) on the Colorado River by the United States Bureau of Reclamation. [40: Upper Colorado River Compact, Pub. L. No. 81-37, 63 Stat. 31 (1949), available at
The upper basin states (including Colorado) were allocated a much greater percentage of the water than the lower basin states, while the upper basin states were developing at a much slower rate than those in the lower basin, notably California. Nevada (as of 1997) anticipated being unable to rely just on this water by 2015, while in 1997 California was already exceeding its originally allocated supply by diverting unused water from the upper basin states (Arizona.edu, 1997). It goes without saying that this legislation from the early twentieth century is not going to be sufficient in coming years as the development of these regions has progressed at a much faster rate than originally anticipated, and it is the responsibility of state and federal governments, water management companies, as well as appeals from farmers and non-farming residents alike to come to an agreement on how to apportion water and how to implement secondary hydration plans due to the rapidly declining resource that the once-magnificent Colorado River was able to supply us
One of the largest geographic physical structures in the United States is the Colorado River. Human activity and its interaction with this great river have an interesting history. The resources provided by the river have been used by humans, and caused conflict for human populations as well. One of these conflicts is water distribution, and the effects drought conditions have played in this distribution throughout the southwestern region. Major cities such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, and other communities in the southwest depend on the river. It provides water for over 20 million people, irrigation for 2 million acres of land, four thousand megawatts of hydroelectric energy, and over twenty million annual visitors for
The Colorado River Basin starts in the Rocky Mountains and cuts through 1500 miles of canyon lands and deserts of seven US states and two Mexican states to supply a collection of dams and reservoirs with water to help irrigate cropland, support 40 million people, and provide hydroelectric power for the inland western United States [1,2]. From early settlement, rights over the river have been debated and reassigned to different states in the upper and lower basin; however, all the distribution patterns lead to excessive consumption of the resource. In 1922, the seven US states signed into the Colorado River Compact, which outlined the policy for the distribution rights to the water , however, this compact was written during an exceptionally
The controversy over water rights has been a long battle that the Navajo Nation has endured for decades. This controversy which is complicated by numerous issues has only been increasing in recent years. For example the Navajo Hopi Little Colorado Water Settlement that has been in litigation for 33 years. Of particular note Navajo people and their elected officials are struggling to balance expectations with reality including legally mandated coordination with state and federal governments. As a result there has been notable conflict in resources associated with water management. These fundamental issues have been exasperated by a host of concerns: (1) deceased water availability due to drought or water development; (2) long
440). The main way for most aquifers to be recharged is through surface runoff. The rainfall sinks into the ground and percolates or accumulates to a common place (usually an aquifer). Yet this process takes lots of time. Scientists believe it may take centuries to refill some of the deeper aquifers. Water travels especially slow underground. It could take water up to 500 years to travel 15 meters. Aquifers are depended on for roughly 40% of California’s water supply. This number can escalate to 60% during droughts such as the one that just occurred.
Arizona has an incredibly large dependence on the Colorado River and groundwater. In fact, 39% of all water usage in Arizona is comprised of Colorado River water. Any dependence of that scale on any resource that originates in another area is always a major risk, as any major disaster or drastic change to the source of the river can cripple the state’s water supply. Furthermore, while Arizona does house the majority of the Lower Basin of the Colorado, the Colorado’s Upper Basin is shared between 4 other states, all with their own water needs and all with a susceptibility to drought. On the other hand, another 40% of all water Arizona uses is from groundwater sources. However, the Colorado River and these groundwater sources in the Colorado River basins have lost over 65 cubic kilometers of water over the last 9 years, with nearly 2/3 of it from groundwater loss due to over-pumping. This is because
Texas, with its abundances of natural resources, is facing a new demon, one that doesn’t even seem possible, a shortage of water. Water, without it nothing can survive. Texas is the second largest state for landmass in the nation and ninth for water square miles. Within the borders of Texas are more than 100 lakes, 14 major rivers, and 23 aquifers, so why has water become such an important issue for the state? Politicians and conservationists all agree that without a new working water plan, the state could be facing one of the most damaging environmental disasters they have ever seen. The issues that shape the states positions are population growth, current drought conditions, and who actually owns the water.
The rule of capture in water property rights has a consequence for the development of underground water resources in the state. It encourages landowners to take as much water as possible from groundwater, which can work against conservation efforts. In 1949, the Texas Legislature decided to pass the Texas Groundwater Act (Champagne). This act established water districts so they can have the authority to enforce rules for conserving and protecting the underground water.
With 1,400 miles of water and 9 states using it- water is running out fast. Farmers that use the water are saying that they have more legal rights to use the water since they are growing food to give to everyone. Although, cities are needing water to keep their people alive as well.
In my opinion, Yuma farmers should keep their existing water rights because they are big farmers of lettuce. Lettuce is one of the most popular vegetable in the United States. A fact that proves claim #1 is in paragraph 1. It says that if you eat lettuce at Thanksgiving to April than it is most likely from Yuma. So if they cut Yuma's water supply, the lettuce might die. If the lettuce dies, than there is going to be a lettuce shortage. Another fact from the article is in the section that is titled "Older Rights Means more Water." In this section, it staits that Yuma has one of the oldest water rights which leads to more water. If their rights were taken away, then you wouldn't have the leafy greens that you love during late fall, winter, or
The first three parts give a rundown on the history of water use in the desert areas of the American West, it also shows the great misuse of water in the same area. The last part, chronicles the impact of different policies and technological advances that came from the American West. It focuses on how projects to help conservation will eventually protect what water we have left in the area and the rest of the world if they follow the same models.