Governor Mead’s Water Strategy included the 10 in 10 initiative to streamline storage projects across the state. So far, no project has been completed. Storage projects are expensive and in Wyoming, typically built to provide supplemental irrigation to a few irrigators. Economics and permitting will continue to make new storage projects very difficult to implement. During the last legislative session, the legislature stripped $80 million from the proposed West Battle Reservoir because the cost/benefit analysis to Wyoming taxpayers did not make sense. Which statement best captures your thoughts about these storage projects?
Scale of 1 – 5
1 = Water storage projects are important for our state and a good use of taxpayer money.
5 = Providing late season water to a few irrigators is not worth the expense of most storage projects; there are better ways to conserve water and keep lands in agriculture.
CANDIDATE ANSWER: 2
How important is this issue for you?
Scale of 1 – 5
1 = Low Priority
5 = High Priority
CANDIDATE ANSWER: 4
“The American Society of Civil Engineers estimated a $409.9 million need for drinking water infrastructure in Wyoming by the year 2020, a $91 million need in wastewater needs and identified 87 dams considered to be a high-hazard potential.
Thankfully Wyoming has a representative in Washington D.C. like John Barrasso, who introduced and garnered bipartisan support for Americaâ€™s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. By earmarking federal funding for additional water storage, allowing for improved irrigation and sterilization, increased flood protection, and upgrading old water systems, we can ensure Wyoming has clean water for generations to come.
This is exactly the type of federal aid we need in Wyoming, but we cannot rely entirely on the feds and must continue to fund infrastructure updates as well as vigilantly enforce regulations to protect our water supply as we try to expand mineral developments throughout the state. We cannot afford even the possibility of contaminating another communityâ€™s water system like in Pavillion, Wyoming.
While the state can help provide scientific expertise and funding, I believe local control is always the best policy. Here in Jackson the contamination of Fish Creek and Brooks Lake and the constant flooding of Flat Creek as has been closely monitored and managed by local groups like the Teton Conservation District and various water improvement districts. Local infrastructure upgrades have also been met by the likes of over a dozen water and sewer districts like the Aspen-Pines Water and Sewer District.
These special districts have been very successful in Jackson and should be used more throughout the state, but they need help from the state government. We cannot short change our water system like they did in Flint Michigan.
Grants like the $944,700 appropriation the legislature approved this year for The Melody Ranch Water Improvement and Service District to update the entire subdivisionâ€™s water transmission lines and construct a new well, are critical to supplement federal funding and maintain Wyomingâ€™s high quality water service.
In addition, we must continue to fund the Department of Environmental Qualityâ€™s projects to preserve the nearly 70 streams and rivers that are considered impaired and continue to monitor those reaching unsafe levels of E. coli is just as critical.
“My plan to diversify the state by bringing existing Wyoming companies to new national and international markets, attracting new tech and manufacturing businesses and enhancing the stateâ€™s investment portfolio as we continue to find efficiencies in budgets will stabilize our the stateâ€™s financial position and provide meaningful funding for these critical water projects.”