U.S. Water News Online
CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Gov. Dave Freudenthal and University of
Wyoming researchers demonstrated a new wind- and solar-powered water
pumping system they say will make water supplies more reliable and
ranches more efficient.
The system, developed by the University of Wyoming Electric Motor
Training and Testing Center, aims to make groundwater available where
surface water isn't.
"With Wyoming's ongoing drought, surface water is not as readily
available as we might like," Freudenthal said during the
demonstration on the Capitol's west lawn. "My hope is that this new
technology can help ranchers water their livestock using the means
and areas that make the most sense for their operations."
Many Wyoming ranchers use diesel-powered pumps to get groundwater
for their livestock, but the project aims to replace those pumps with
new ones powered by renewable resources.
Some ranchers use windmills, but John Etchepare, director of the
Wyoming Agriculture Department, said windmills alone weren't always
"In all of the years I was in ranching, we were almost totally
dependent on our windmills for our livestock and wildlife water,"
Etchepare said. "Let me assure you that the wind does not always blow
in Wyoming. This new technology comes highly recommended and looks to
be a very valuable resource for Wyoming's farmers and ranchers."
Charlie Stith, who ranches near Laramie, and Lingle rancher Mark
Morel said the trial systems installed on their southeast Wyoming
ranches were quite successful.
"We've been able to pump water through the winter," Stith said.
"This is how my cows drink all winter. I was chopping ice."
And because livestock tend to stay close to water supplies,
installing multiple pumps around a ranch can help make sure land is
evenly grazed, the demonstrators said.
"It really did help us spread our cattle out and better use our
rangeland, and the wildlife have really benefited from it as well,"
Now the university wants to install at least two demonstration
systems in each county.
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