Powder/Tongue River Basin Advisory Group
Harold Jarrard Park, Kaycee, WY
October 10, 2001
The facilitators opened the meeting at approximately 6:05 pm and reviewed the agenda to set the
expectations for the meeting. Participants introduced themselves by stating their name,
affiliation, and place of residence. The facilitators sent a sign-in sheet around the room.
The facilitators stated that the next two BAG meetings, as selected by the BAG members, would
be held December 12th and January 16th in Sheridan. The facilitators explained that following the
January BAG meeting, interim BAG meetings would be held every four months. The first such
meeting will be March 20th in Buffalo.
Updates on Other Basin Plans
Barry Lawrence updated the BAG on the status of the plans for the other basins. The BAGs for
the Snake/Salt and the Wind/Bighorn Basins met October 8th and 9th. Barry discussed the status
of these two studies, the schedule for future meetings, and the presentations planned for future
meetings. He indicated the BAG for the Northeast Basin will meet October 11th and will hear
presentations on water demand projections and future water use opportunities. Barry noted that
the BAGs for the Green River and Bear River Basins are holding interim BAG meetings and
invited everyone's participation in those meetings as well.
Review of Issues Identified during the Roundtable Work Session
The facilitators explained that at the June meeting of the BAG, members were divided into
several small groups. These groups were assigned main issues and proceeded to combine and
prioritize the subissues under the main issues. At the August meeting, BAG members began to
discuss and modify the results of the work of the small groups. Since the discussion was not
completed at the August meeting, BAG members agreed to review the subissue prioritization
tables and be prepared to discuss them at the BAG meeting in October. The facilitators then
asked for comments and the BAG responded with suggestions relative to changing some of the
rankings of some of the subissues within the sub-basins. The proposed changes were discussed
and implemented. It was noted that the final tables of issues and prioritized subissues would be
distributed before the next meeting.
Consultant Update – Wade Irion, HKM Engineering
Wade Irion reported that the work under Task 2 (Basin Water Use Profile) was nearly complete
and the consulting team was focusing on Task 3 (Availability of Surface Water and Ground
Water), Task 4 (Water Demand Projections), and Task 5 (Future Water Use Opportunities). He
indicated that Tasks 4 and 5 would be the topics for the presentations at tonight's meeting.
Coalbed Methane Activities Update – Mickey Steward, CBMCC
Mickey reported that the issue of fugitive dust was emerging and could impact CBM
development. Mickey indicated that air quality monitors had recently recorded periods when the
24-hour standard had been exceeded and that if the standards continue to be exceeded, EPA
could step in to force activities aimed at getting the air quality back into compliance, such as
reducing dust emissions from county roads. It was noted that discussions were occurring
between the counties and CBM producers to control dust emissions on county roads used by
Water Demand Projections – Gary Watts, Watts & Associates, Inc.
Gary explained that Task 4 included preparation of water demand projections for municipal,
industrial, agricultural, and recreation/environmental uses through the year 2030. The
projections assume three future scenarios defined by the Water Development Commission: low
growth, moderate growth, and high growth.
For municipalities, Gary compared population data from the 1960 and 2000 censuses and
discussed three methodologies used to project future populations. He then presented projected
2030 populations for the basins and the associated water demand of the future populations under
each of the three future growth scenarios. Gary compared the water demand projections with the
current supplies available to municipalities and concluded the only shortage predicted to occur
was at Kaycee where the demand projected under the high growth scenario would exceed the
capacity of Kaycee's well.
Gary explained that current industrial water use in the basins was small and was comprised of
water for coal mining and oil & gas development. CBM development is a water producer
considered under industrial use. Gary presented data on current industrial water use and
production and then discussed assumptions used to predict the growth of industrial water use.
He explained future industrial use is expected to be for coal-fired electric power generation.
Data from a draft EIS being prepared by the Bureau of Land Management for CBM development
was presented as a projection of the water to be produced by CBM wells.
Gary stated that future irrigation demands would be defined by the need to satisfy shortages
experienced by existing lands, and by the desire to irrigate new lands. The results of the
watershed modeling performed by HKM will identify when and where the shortages to existing
lands occur and the amount of water required to satisfy those shortages. Decisions to develop
projects that will satisfy existing shortages and bring new lands into production will be made
based on future economic conditions. Gary then presented the assumptions used to develop the
low, moderate, and high growth projections of irrigation water demand, as well as the
implications of those assumptions.
Gary continued by presenting results of surveys conducted by the State of Wyoming that provide
an estimate of current water-based recreation activity. He explained that the demand for
recreation is expected to grow as a result of increases in both population and tourism. The
implication of these projections is that future water projects need to consider developing
Question: Did the industrial demand projections consider transporting coal out of the basins
using coal slurry pipelines?
Response: No, this potential use will be addressed in the plan report.
Question: Were rural areas surveyed to determine existing and projected demands?
Response: Yes, this information will be presented in the plan report.
Question: Does domestic use include all uses, or just the water used in the house?
Response: Domestic use includes all uses including incidental uses such as watering lawns and
Question: What assumptions were made to make the water demand projections for electric power
Response: Future electric power generation will most-likely be coal-fired using wet cooling
Question: Do the predictions of future water demands assume current groundwater supplies are
Question: Do the irrigation demand projections include the introduction of exotic crops?
Question: Why is oil and gas production even considered when the water can't be used?
Response: Water produced by oil and gas operations is considered to define the resource.
Question: How do the projections account for the fact that water can be used for multiple
Response: The projections assume current patterns of reuse will continue in the future.
Future Water Use Opportunities – Joe Lord, Lord Consulting, LLC
Joe explained that the purpose of Task 5 was to identify future water use opportunities that
would satisfy present and projected demands, and to rank these opportunities according to the
likelihood the project is desirable, functional, and can receive the support required for
In addition to the ranked short-list, Joe indicated that Task 5 would include a legal and
institutional constraints memorandum and a water quality issues and opportunities memorandum.
These two documents will be summarized at the December BAG meeting.
Joe stated that the four steps followed to produce the ranked short-list were: 1) developing
screening criteria; 2) developing a long-list of future water use opportunities; 3) developing a
short-list of future water use opportunities; and 4) ranking the short-list using the screening
criteria. Joe then distributed an example of a ranked short-list that was developed for the Green
River Basin, and explained the various components of the short-list and the process followed to
develop the list. Joe further explained that the ranking process divides the projects into priority
categories and then ranks the projects within the categories using the screening criteria.
BAG members then discussed the priority categories used in the Green River Basin and adopted
the following categories:
Category 1: Rehabilitation projects that preserve existing uses
Category 2: Projects that rectify existing shortages
Category 3: Projects that meet projected future demands
Category 4: Projects that enhance uses in other Wyoming basins
BAG members then discussed and adopted the screening criteria used in the Green River Basin
Criterion 1: Water availability
Criterion 2: Financial feasibility
Criterion 3: Public acceptance
Criterion 4: Number of sponsors, beneficiaries, participants
Criterion 5: Legal and institutional constraints
Criterion 6: Environmental and recreational benefits
Joe indicated that each of the criteria would be assigned a different weight for each of the four
categories depending on how important that criterion is for that category. The results of the
work of the BAG on issues identification will be used when assigning these weights.
Joe explained that the consulting team has developed a long-list of future water use opportunities
from a review of published reports. Separate long-lists were prepared for each of the sub-basins
in the study area. No specific groundwater projects were included on the long-list, however,
groundwater development was included as a generic future water use opportunity for each of the
sub-basins, and would be ranked along with the other opportunities identified for that sub-basin.
The projects on the long-list were then reviewed by the consulting team to determine if they
should be included on the short-list, or if they should be eliminated from consideration during the
30-year planning period. Reasons used by the consulting team to eliminate projects included: 1)
project construction already completed; 2) concerns with the location of project facilities (i.e.
within a National Forest or wilderness area, presenting major legal, institutional, and permitting
constraints); and 3) original demands for the project no longer exist and are not expected to
appear within the planning period.
Because the meeting time had ended, it was decided that the long-list and short-list would be
mailed out to the BAG members for their review and to identify projects that were missed by the
consulting team and should be added to the long-list. BAG members were also asked to review
the suggested short-list to recommend additional projects for removal and to identify projects
that were eliminated by the consulting team that should be retained on the short-list. BAG
comments on the long-list and short-list were to be sent to the consulting team prior to the
December BAG meeting. They would then prepare a ranked short-list based on the comments
received from BAG members and present the list at the December BAG meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:00 pm.