U.S. Water News Online
CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Rapid development in Laramie County has
prompted the state's Water Development Commission to recommend
approval of a $300,000 groundwater study.
The commission's recommendation will go before the Legislature
when it convenes next month.
There is currently a ban on drilling irrigation wells in eastern
Laramie County and the mountainous western portion of the county has
a low water table. Meanwhile, housing development continues in
Diane Humphrey, Laramie County commissioner, said all those
factors drive the need to determine the state of the county's
aquifer, or underground water supply.
Humphrey said people in the eastern part of the county have asked
her why the county commission was approving new subdivisions when the
water table was dropping.
"A $300,000 house isn't worth much if there isn't any water under
there," Humphrey said.
The county commission recently took its concerns to the Water
Development Commission, which approved the groundwater study. The
study will help local governments and others determine which areas
are appropriate for development.
The aquifer is the main source of water for nearly all Laramie
County residents. Most residents of rural areas rely on wells while
the cities of Cheyenne, Pine Bluffs and Burns also use well fields to
supply their residents.
Bruce Brinkman, hydrologic engineer with the Water Development
Commission, said the $300,000 would fund the first phase of a study
to look at the current condition of the aquifer, determine how many
wells are tapped into it and then analyze the static level. He said
this work could take 18 months to complete.
Brinkman said the county would then have to seek another grant to
fund the second phase of the work. He said that would include
installing monitoring wells and analyzing them to develop a
comprehensive understanding of the condition of the aquifer.
"It would look at what would need to be done to forecast the
impacts of future development," Brinkman said. He said everyone in
the county could use that information.
"We just wanted a picture so we're more informed on where
developments should go in," Brinkman said.
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