Barrasso, Lummis introduce Bill to increase water storage in Fontenelle Reservoir
Would expand water storage capability in southwest Wyoming
by Wyoming delegation media release
May 18, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, May 12th, U.S. Senator John Barrasso and U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis, both R-Wyo., introduced legislation to approve the expansion of water storage at the Bureau of Reclamation’s (BOR) Fontenelle Reservoir in Lincoln County, Wyoming.
"In Wyoming, farmers and ranchers need a reliable and plentiful supply of water in order to keep their livestock and crops healthy. After years of delay, this bill will finally help move the much needed Fontenelle Reservoir expansion project forward to allow Wyoming to continue to develop its water rights," said Barrasso. "More water storage capacity means more water for farmers, ranchers and local communities. It also provides an economic incentive for new businesses to grow and create jobs in southwestern Wyoming."
"Water is our most precious natural resource and this legislation will help Wyoming develop its water resources and enhance economic opportunities for southwestern Wyoming in the process," said Lummis. "Ranching in Wyoming all my life, I understand the need for water storage since we can’t depend solely on regular rainfall in our high plains desert state. Water storage and other water development projects are what make Wyoming and the arid west bloom, and this legislation will build on that success story with this common-sense, state-led fulfillment of Fontenelle’s storage potential."
The bill allows for the expansion of water storage at the Bureau of Reclamation’s (BOR) Fontenelle Reservoir in Lincoln County. This would be accomplished by completing the "rip rap" around the reservoir. A "rip rap" is a foundation or sustaining wall of stones or chunks of concrete connected together around the reservoir to prevent erosion.
The bill directs the State of Wyoming and the BOR to reach an agreement to allow Wyoming to complete the rip rap around the reservoir. The State of Wyoming would pay for the cost of completing this project. Wyoming would also have a right to the water that would be stored in the reservoir if the reservoir is completed by building the rip rap.
Despite multiple requests by the State of Wyoming in 2011 and 2014, the Bureau of Reclamation has not completed the needed National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance in order to move forward with the expansion of the Fontenelle Reservoir in Lincoln County.