From Wyoming Public Media (Melodie Edwards):
Last week, lawmakers on the Select Water Committee agreed to put $40 million in their budget to build a new dam in southern Wyoming, but only if all the money for the project is identified first. The total cost of the dam is estimated at $80 million dollars.
Water Development Office Director Harry LaBonde says with more droughts expected in the future, more irrigation water is needed for about 25 different ranches along the West Fork of Battle Creek in south-central Wyoming.
“When you get to August, flows are low and so the irrigation purpose of this project would be to provide these late season irrigation flows so that they could continue to irrigate and enhance their grass hay crops,” said LaBonde.
Battle Creek flows into the Yampa River in Colorado and the hope is that state would help fund the project…
Water Development Office Director LaBonde said, with more droughts likely, Wyoming needs to provide for its irrigators. He said now is a good time to build dams.
“I will say also that with regards to the President’s infrastructure bills that are being proposed, there’s also potential for a component of federal funding for this project.”
LaBonde says the reservoir will also provide recreation opportunities and habitat for the imperiled Colorado cutthroat trout.
The project is one of Governor Matt Mead’s 10-in-10 water projects, an effort to build ten new water storage projects in ten years. Four others around the state are also moving forward including Middle Pioneer Reservoir and an enlargement of Big Sandy Reservoir, both in Sublette County on the Green River, a main branch on the Colorado River. Also, two dam projects in the Bighorn Basin in northern Wyoming have been funded for construction costs, including Alkali Creek Dam and Levitt Reservoir.