Instream Flows: Proposed Legislation 2007
The Town of Pinedale holds reservoir water rights in Fremont Lake, but not instream flow rights to use that water right to augment flows in Pine Creek during dry years. Proposed new legislation would make that possible. Pinedale Online file photo.
Bills would create new instream flow rights in Wyoming
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
January 6, 2007
Efforts to change the state’s existing instream flow law continue again this year in the Wyoming Legislature. Although numerous efforts have been made in recent years, none have been successful thus far. This session, there are two bills that have been pre-filed that address instream flow.
House Bill 84 would provide for temporary water rights (and is sponsored by Representatives Berger, Gingery, Illoway, Jorgensen, Throne and Warren and Senators
Burns, Schiffer and Vasey).
The bill provides that “any person may acquire by purchase, gift or lease the right to the use of water which may be embraced in any adjudicated or valid unadjudicated water right, or any portion thereof, for a period not to exceed two years for in-channel use.”
In-channel use is defined as “the temporary use achieved by either leaving the natural flows of a natural watercourse undiverted or introducing previously stored water into a natural watercourse for a beneficial use pursuant to this section.”
The bill prescribes that a person” may temporarily acquire and use only that portion of a water right of a natural unstored flow water right which has been consumptively used in the past.”
The bill includes a provision for installation of measuring devices necessary “to monitor or regulate a temporary in-channel use.”
HB0084 Water Management Flexibility (58K PDF)
Temporary instream flow
Senate File 51 is Senator Cale Case’s bill (although he is joined by co-sponsors Senators Decaria, Jorgensen and Larson and Representatives Thompson and Zwonitzer. This bill has been proposed in the past, but was defeated.
The bill proposes to amend the law to allow the state to temporarily acquire any existing water rights in streams of Wyoming by purchase, gift or lease for the purpose of providing instream flows.
The bill provides: “The state shall have the right to acquire by purchase, gift or lease the right to the use of water which may be embraced in any adjudicated or valid unadjudicated water right, or any portion thereof, for a period of not to exceed two years, for instream flow purposes.”
SF0051 Temporary Instream Flows (63K PDF)