Wyoming: Cowboy State look at the Flaming Gorge pipeline (Regional Watershed Supply Project)

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Here’s a long report about the pipeline project, from Derek Farr writing for the Sublette Examiner. From the article:

In a house editorial by the Denver Post, the newspaper concluded RWSP was “an innovative notion that might bring a cease-fire in our water wars.” In other words, under the RWSP Colorado’s east slope can develop west-slope water without rankling western water users. For Colorado, that’s due to some fortuitous geography.

The Green River starts deep in Wyoming’s Wind River Mountains before meandering 180 miles south and entering Utah at Flaming Gorge Reservoir. Below the Flaming Gorge dam, the river takes a left turn and loops through Colorado for 41 miles. Because the Green eventually flows into the Colorado River, the state of Colorado has a right to its water no matter how briefly the two coalesce. And because the Green’s sojourn into Colorado takes it through the remote regions of Browns Park and Dinosaur National Monument, few western Colorado water users are directly affected by a diversion. As western Colorado resistance has cooled, RWSP is garnering support in parts of eastern Wyoming. That’s because RWSP promises the City of Laramie 25,000 af of water. That’s not the state’s only internal division over the project. Gov. Freudenthal’s brother Steve Freudenthal, a Cheyenne lawyer, is helping develop the RWSP.

The prospect of being isolated between pro-RWSP Wyoming communities and impassive western Colorado water users has Sweetwater County Commissioner Paula Wonnacott concerned. She worries that the state’s voice will fracture over 25,000 af of water.
“They may see it as a boon for them,” she said. “But at the same time in southwest Wyoming were we have industry and create tax revenue for the state, we want to make sure that we have access to our water resources and we don’t want to do something to hinder those opportunities in the future.”

Accordingly, officials from Sweetwater County, Green River and Rock Springs are building a coalition against RWSP and opening dialog with the rest of the state. “I would really hate to not be able to engage the other elected groups in the eastern part of the state,” Wonnacott said. “We want to make sure we’re working with one voice.”

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

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