Wyoming State Water Plan, Wyoming Water Development Office
Rafting on Snake River Lake Marie, Snowy Mountains Wyoming Wind River Range picture


SUBJECT: Wind/Bighorn River Basin Plan
Future Water Use Opportunities: Project Summaries
PREPARED BY: BRS Engineering, Lidstone and Associates, Inc.
DATE: February 17, 2003

This memorandum provides the long and short listing of potential future water use projects as identified during the Basin Advisory Group Planning process.

This memorandum contains the following sections:

Section 4 - SUMMARY

Appendix A (65kb Excel) - Long List of Potential Future Water Use Projects


A methodology to identify and screen future water use opportunities was presented in a previous memorandum. As part of the Basin Advisory Group (BAG) process, the Wind/Big Horn Planning team developed a long list of potential structural and non-structural opportunities to meet current and projected water demands over the 30 year planning horizon. Structural opportunities include, but are not limited to storage reservoirs, deep ground water wells, and conveyance system upgrades. Non-structural opportunities include, but are not limited to local and basin-wide conservation, meters, leak detection programs and administrative changes in water rights and water delivery.

After the long list was developed, each long list project was evaluated for the individual criterion on the basis of 1 to 10. After applying the weights to each number, a total .value. of the long list project was established.

Appendix A of this memorandum presents the long list of potential future water use projects with each projects numeric ranking.


The level of information and data available for the projects on the list of future water use opportunities varies significantly from very sketchy to completed conceptual designs. Therefore, the exercise of assigning weights to criterion and evaluation scores to projects is totally subjective and the results of the evaluation process can only be interpreted to reflect the knowledge and judgement of the individual assigning the weights and scores. In order to make the process more objective and less subjective, detailed engineering, legal, and environmental investigations would need to be completed to advance all projects to the same level of information and data.

To ensure a fair application of screening criteria, the Basin Planning Team chose to divide the list into Categories and Sub-Categories. These Categories were as follows:

1. Municipal/Industrial
2. Agriculture
3. Environmental and Recreation
4. Religious and Cultural.

Within each Category, up to eight sub-categories might apply and would include:

a. Development of New Sources
b. Distribution of Existing Sources
c. Storage of Existing Sources
d. Water Conservation
e. Water Management
f. Conjunctive Use Options
g. Basin Transfers
h. Development of New Uses

The user is cautioned to avoid a quantitative comparison of projects solely based on their individual performance under the screening criteria and weighting process. With this in mind, the long list was presented to the BAG on a performance basis within the project category and/or subcategory. This process resulted in the establishment of four groups or quartiles as described below:

The following tables present the long list of Wind Bighorn Basin future water use opportunities by category. As one can see from this list, water storage opportunities have been studied extensively over the years and there are over 200 potential water storage projects within the Basin. Many of these projects are unrealistic in that they fall in environmentally sensitive areas and may never be permitted or they may not meet a Basin Plan which prioritizes need, water availability and financial feasibility of the project as important parameters.

In many cases several of the proposed long list projects are actually water administration ideas. For example .development and administration of flow augmentation plans. requires Wyoming Legislature, State Engineer and State Board of Control involvement. As more and more Basin municipalities move from a surface water source to a deep Paleozoic well, more .out-of-basin. water (i.e. deep ground water) will be returned to the surface water system. This volume of water may serve as an administrative .credit. for future surface water supply development.

Other long list projects include water conservation ideas. These projects may include implementation of a Leak Detection Program for a municipality and replacement of old, leaking water lines, once the results become known. Although the concept will be implemented, at the time of the development of the long list, no specific sponsor was identified. As such its group weight is lower than if an actually sponsor was identified.

Development of New Resources
Sub-CategoryLocation, General DescriptionProject DescriptionGroup
Groundwater DevelopmentPaleozic AquiferMadison Aquifer vic. Of Lander2
Madison Aquifer vic. Of Southern Bighorn Basin1
Flathead Aquifer nr. Thermopolis, Hyattville1
Tensleep Aquifer nr. Big Trails4
Madison Aquifer nr. Hyattville3
Tertiary AquiferWind River Aquifer vic. Gas Hills Area4
Flooded Uranium Mine Pits nr. Gas Hills3
Flow AugmentationMunicipal Wastewater, when supplied fm. GWWorland1
Basin / Manderson2
Tensleep Creek3
Cloud Seeding / Weather ModificationBighorn Mountains4

Distribution of Existing Resources
Sub-CategoryLocation, General DescriptionProject DescriptionGroup
New Canals, Ditches or PipelinesMunicipal Systems RegionalizationBighorn Regional Joint Powers Board1
Lander-Hudson Proposal1
Town of Tensleep Regionalization1
Dubois Regional1
Agricultural ConveyancePopo Agie River Master Plan1
Kirby Creek Master Plan1
Owl Creek/Hot Springs Conservation District2
Construction of New Municipal StorageBighorn Regional Joint Powers Board
Town of Tensleep Regionalization
Hyattville Water System

Sub-CategoryLocation, General DescriptionProject DescriptionGroup
StructuralMunicipal/Industrial UsersMeters for Unmetered Municipalities3
Leak Detection Program2
Utility Line Replacement2
Agricultural UsersLining ditches to reduce seepage losses2
Change from open ditch to pipeline2
Midvale Irrigation District1
LeClair Laterals1
Riverton Valley Crossings1
More efficient irrigation systems2
Low head sprinklers2
Soil tensiometers and irrigation scheduling3
Non-StructuralMunicipal/Industrial UsersReclaimed Water for Irrigation4
User rate schedule to promote conservation3
Use of raw water for irrigation4
Town of Greybull1
Agricultural UsersChange in crops to decrease consumptive use4
Irrigation Scheduling4

Sub-CategoryLocation, General DescriptionProject DescriptionGroup
Administrative: WSEOReview of Beneficial Uses
Abandonment of Unused Water Rights
Development and Admin. of Augmentation Plans
Cultural or Religious ManagementWater use for cultural purposesCoordinated Releases1
Water use for religious purposesCoordinated Releases1
Administrative: USBRRevised Reservoir Operations ScheduleBoysen Reservoir - Lower Winter Releases3
Boysen Reservoir - Higher Winter Releases3

Conjunctive Use
Sub-CategoryLocation, General DescriptionProject DescriptionGroup
Storage and Delivery OptionsLined Gravel Pits nr. RiverOpportunities near Worland, Greybull and Cody3

Aquifer Storage and RetrievalRecharge of alluvial system along Bighorn River4
Recharge of alluvial system along Upper Wind R.2

Basin Transfers
Sub-CategoryLocation, General DescriptionProject DescriptionGroup
Transbasin Diversions(In-Basin)Clarks Fork to Greybull RiverPipeline1
Wood River to Gooseberry CreekExcess storage in Sunshine Res. And pipeline2
Wood River to Cottonwood/Grass CreekExcess storage in Sunshine Res. And pipeline2
Transbasin Diversions(Out-of-Basin)Transfer to Colorado River BasinPipeline and Reservoir4
Transfer to North Platte BasinPipeline and Reservoir3

Environmental and Recreation
Sub-CategoryLocation, General DescriptionProject DescriptionGroup
Fishing/Environmental/RaftingIn Stream or Minimum Flows
Minimum Reservoir Pool
River Restoration/ Habitat Improvement
Recreation and TourismGolf Courses
Whitewater Parks
Public Access

Development of New Uses
Sub-CategoryLocation, General DescriptionProject DescriptionGroup
Municipal/IndustrialBottled Water
In-Situ Uranium
Fossil Fuels Power GenerationWind River Reservation4
Grass Ck./Kirby Ck. Near Winchester4
AgriculturalNew Lands to IrrigationWestside Irrigation Project, Washakie County1
Riverton East1
North Crowheart2
South Crowheart2
Bighorn Flats3
Improved Distribution of Stock WaterBLM Lands west of Big Trails2
Eastern Wind River Basin3
Muskrat Creek, Poison Creek, and Badwater Creek3
Kirby Creek, Hot Springs County3
Other UsesDust abatement at Buffalo Bill Res.

Storage Projects
Storage ProjectsLocationCapacity
Big Wind River and tributaries aboveconfluence with Little Wind RiverBear Creek30,5002
Brooks Lake24,5001
Bull Lake Dam Enlargement48,0001
Bull Lake Creek No. 196,7002
Bull Lake Creek No. 263,7001
Bull Lake Creek No. 31,2002
Bull Lake Creek No. 4159,0001
Caldwell Creek45,0002
Crow Creek No. 136,0603
Crow Creek No. 243,0003
Crowheart No.1106,7011
Crowheart No.27,5002
Dinwoody Creek No. 116,5001
Dinwoody Creek No.235,0002
Dinwoody Lake Enlargement82,5802
Dinwoody Re-Regulation No. 1403
Dinwoody Re-Regulation No. 22,2002
Dry Creek No. 14,3003
Dry Creek No. 204
Dry Creek No. 322,5083
Dry Creek No. 4116,0003
Dry Creek No. 504
Dunoir Creek150,0002
Horse Creek30,0003
Kinnear Reservoir7,1021
LeClair Warm Springs3,0002
Meadow Creek5,8004
Meadow Creek Re-Regulation No. 4193
Mud Lake26,2082
Ocean Lake Enl40,4001
Off-Channel (site 1)8703
Off-Channel (site 2)4,2003
Off-Channel (site 3)8703
Off-Channel (site 7)1,8501
Passup Creek4,3004
Pilot Butte04
Red Creek No. 12,8004
Red Creek No. 22,5004
Re-Regulation No.3854
Sand Draw No. 127,0002
Sand Draw No. 240,0002
Torrey Creek24,9002
Torrey Lake33,0002
Warm Springs Creek5,0002
Wiggins Fork No. 1325,0002
Wiggins Fork No. 2270,0002
Willow Creek No. 145,0004
Wind River Blue Holes375,0001
Wind River East Fork No. 1103,0002
Wind River East Fork No. 225,0003
Wind River East Fork No. 331,0002
Wind River East Fork No. 453,5003
Wind River East Fork No. 568,4432
Wind River East Fork No. 641,0003
Wind River East Fork No. 7122,5603
Wind River No. 1113,0001
Wind River No. 2112,0001
Wind River No. 3230,0001
Wind River No. 4195,7761
Wind River No. 562,6501
Wind River No. 670,4941
Wind River Phase 1133,9501
Little Wind River and tributaries (excluding Popo Agie River and Beaver Creek)Grave Lake4,5003
Little Wind River No. 122,6001
Little Wind River No. 255,0802
Little Wind River No. 55,0802
Little Wind River North Fork No. 116,5003
Little Wind River North Fork No. 214,8002
Little Wind River North Fork No. 303
Mill Creek3,9003
Raft Lake90,0003
Ray Lake Enl.41,6501
Sage Creek No. 111,7003
Sage Creek No. 23,0301
Sage Creek South Fork No. 110,8603
Sage Creek South Fork No. 212,3003
Sage Creek South Fork No. 335,0003
Sharp Nose Draw No. 12,3001
Sharp Nose Draw No. 38,5001
South Fork Little Wind River No. 1144,0002
South Fork Little Wind River No. 313,5002
South Fork Little Wind River No. 416,3002
South Fork Little Wind River No. 256,4301
St. Lawrence Creek10,0003
Trout Creek No. 18,0853
Trout Creek No. 212,4004

Storage Projects, Continued
Storage ProjectsLocationCapacity
Popo Agie RiverBills Park03
Gill Park7102
Little Popo Agie River79,0002
Louis Lake8,0142
Middle Popo Townsend03
No. 53 (not named)9,0002
North Popo Agie River103,0003
Off-Channel (site 5)2,9401
Off-Channel (site 6)2,4001
Onion Flats10,0001
Pete's Lake7622
Popo Agie River No. 4102,3362
Popo Agie River No. 118,9001
Popo Agie River No. 238,7812
Popo Agie River No. 3102,3362
Sand Hills20,9301
Sharp Nose Draw No. 215,3361
Surrel Creek No. 19,0002
Surrel Creek No. 216,6881
Willow Creek No.29,5001
Beaver Creek (trib. Little Wind River)Batrum Gap No. 434,6152
Beaver Creek No. 18,8203
Beaver Creek No. 27004
Beaver Creek No. 31,2003
Beaver Creek No.427,3242
Off-Channel (site 4)4,8801
Smith and Springolf4264
Kirby DrawKirby Draw16,0004
Muskrat CreekKing Gorm5,3904
Muskrat Conant2,0394
Queen Thyra1,2354
Badwater CreekBadwater Creek (site 4)1,7704
Snyder Creek Detention3474
Waterworks No. 32114
Buffalo Creek trib. Bighorn RiverBuffalo Creek2,7003
Kirby CreekKirby3,0903
Bighorn RiverKirby130,0002
No Water CreekFruitland No. 17,2452
Fruitland No. 25,3182
Fruitland No. 41,0503
Nowood RiverBig Trails18,5004
Medicine Lodge2,2504
Nowood River175,0004
Tensleep Meadows13,4904
Tensleep Meadows13,4904
West Tensleep Lake1,1804
Wilson No. 13862
Wilson No. 23792
Shell CreekBeaver Creek (Coyote Basin)1,3852
Moraine Creek No. 11,1502
Shell Canal2,1003
Shell Creek Lake2,0103
East Bighorn Lake TributariesBethwren1,3104
Crystal Creek (not named)6443
Porcupine Creek14,6604
Fivemile CreekFive Mile Creek No.11,8003
Five Mile Creek No.27,7763
Five Mile Creek No.32,1003
Maverick Spring Draw7,1004
Ocean Lake41,9311
Teapot Gulch No. 12,0003
Teapot Gulch No. 25,0224
Muddy CreekBlue Draw23,1503
Dry Muddy Creek28,0004
East Fork Sheep Creek3,9004
Muddy Creek No. 110,5003
Muddy Creek No. 234,0003
Muddy Creek No. 357,3443
Sagwup Draw No. 128,9004
Sagwup Draw No. 225,8954
Sheep Creek16,2003
Shotgun Creek No.12,7004
Shotgun Creek No.27,6004
W. Fork Sheep Creek29,1283
Cottonwood Creek trib. Boysen ReservoirBlue Holes351,0004
Cottonwood Creek1,5004
Cottonwood No. 121,1784
Cottonwood No. 221,1784
Owl CreekDempsey1,0701
Mountain View5,8301
Mud Creek North Fork4,3003
Mud Creek North Fork4,3003
North Fork Owl Creek8,7003
Owl Creek Basin5,2303
Owl Creek Irrigation23,2702
Owl Creek South Fork46,5002
Owl Creek South Fork46,5002
Owl Creek South Fork No. 122,6803
Owl Creek South Fork No. 220,0903
Owl Creek South Fork Trib.3,2001
Pumpkin Draw2,0001
Shotgun Creek2,7004
South Fork Owl Creek15,1003
Gooseberry CreekBuffalo Creek145,0002
Gooseberry Creek3,6902
Gooseberry Creek3,6902
Gooseberry No. 11,7702
Gooseberry No. 28,5002
Little Buffalo Basin 75,8102
Fifteen Mile CreekFifteen Mile Creek46,0802
Elk CreekElk Creek Valley1,1403
Greybull RiverAlpha Sandstone5792
Grey Bull River84,2004
Lake McKinney No. 22022
Rawhide Creek34,7384
Rawhide Creek34,7384
Snyder Draw2,2402
Spring Creek64,7004
Thayer No. 16393
Dry CreekBench Canal2992
Oregon Basin382,9503
Sage Creek1,0804
Sage Creek1,0804
Sage Creek Coulderwiley2,0603
Clarks Fork RiverBadger Basin69,2764
Bald Ridge14,6003
Clarks Fork750,0004
Clarks Fork522,8504
Hunter Mountain130,0003
Lagoon Lake1,3203
Lake Creek5,1004
Thief Creek200,0003
Shoshone River and TributariesBeck Lake1,0004
Bliss Creek Meadows04
Cody Canal1,2104
Melvina Lake9374
Melvina Lake9364
Needle Mountain100,0004
Oregon Basin (closed basin)382,9503
Sage Creek1,0824
Sage Creek (SCS Site No. 1)1,5804
Skull Creek6414
Sulphur Creek18,4804
Wall Mountain50,0004


As part of the process, the BAG members were asked to review the long list and identify potential opportunities not included on the proposed long-list as well as the relative merits of the individual projects. Comments and suggestions received from BAG members and additional research led to the development of the final long-list and ultimately the short list.

In the development of the Short List, each project was assigned to a category: Municipal, Agriculture, Environmental and Religious and projects were rated within that category. For example, municipal projects were rated against other municipal projects. Agricultural storage projects were rated against similar projects. Certain projects were eliminated from consideration for the short list. Reasons to eliminate projects included:

1) the project had already been constructed;
2) the location of the project facilities (i.e. within an environmentally sensitive or Wilderness Area), presented major legal, institutional, and permitting constraints;
3) the original demand for the project no longer exists and is not expected to appear within the planning period;
4) the project had no immediate or near term sponsor; or
5) the project feasibility was questionable or did not fall within the upper percentile of screening criteria.

Given the size, breadth and distribution of project needs within the Wind/BigHorn Planning area, an attempt was made to develop short list projects that might benefit different interests throughout the Basin. This included an attempted geographical distribution of projects throughout the Planning Area. The final grouping of short list projects is presented in the following table.

Short List of Future Projects:
CategoryName of ProjectDescription of ProjectLocation of Project
Type of Project:
New SourceUnknownConstruct Deep Aquifer SupplyRegionalization: Lander/Hudson/Riverton

Paleozoic Well FieldConstruct Deep Aquifer SupplyRegionalization: W.R. Reservation

Paleozoic Well FieldConstruct Deep Aquifer SupplyRegionalization: Hot Springs County

Type of Project:
Storage Opportunities
Bighorn Regional
Joint Powers Board
Storage Tanks/Redundant TransmissionHotSprings/Washakie County

Tensleep/HyattvilleStorage Tanks/ TransmissionWashakie County

Type of Project:
Conjunctive UseAquifer Storage
and Retrieval
Alluvial Aquifer AugmentationUpper Wind River/Riverton Area

Type of Project:
Water ManagementGround Water
Control District
Administration of Future DevelopmentRiverton Area

Ground Water
Control District
Administration of Future DevelopmentPaintrock Anticline and Hyattville

Type of Project:
Water ConservationLeak DetectionMunicipal Survey and Repair of LeaksBasin-wide

Reuse of Grey Water
Non Potable Water
Irrigation of Parks/CemetariesBasin-wide

Type of Project:
New SourceNone

Type of Project:
Storage OpportunitiesBull Lake Dam
Reservoir EnlargementBig Wind River

Dinwoody Lake
Reservoir EnlargementBig Wind River

SteamboatNew ReservoirBig Wind River

Ray LakeReservoir EnlargementLittle Wind River

Little Popo Agie
Off Channel Site 5
New ReservoirLittle Popo Agie

Pumpkin DrawNew ReservoirOwl Creek

Neff Park (Popo Agie
New ReservoirPopo Agie

Lake CreekNew ReservoirClarks Fork

Moraine Creek No. 1New ReservoirShell Creek

Type of Project:
DistributionPopo Agie Master PlanDitch Headgate and
Diversion Improvements
Popo Agie Basin

Kirby Creek WatershedStock ReservoirsKirby Creek Basin

Type of Project:
New LandsRiverton EastConstruct New Diversions/DitchesWind River Basin

WestsideConstruct New Diversions/DitchesBig Horn Basin

Type of Project:
Water ConservationMidvale/LeClair
Riverton Valley
Ditch Linings/
Conveyance Improvements
Wind River Basin

Wind River
Irrigation Project
Ditch Linings/
Conveyance Improvements
Wind River Basin

Type of Project:
Basin TransferClarks Fork to
Greybull Drainage
Storage and PipelineClarks Fork to Big Horn Basin


Instream FlowsAdmin Minimum FlowsWind and Big Horn Basin

Minimum Reservoir
Admin Reservoir ReleasesWind and Big Horn Basin

Water Quality Impaired StreamsBig Horn Basin

IV. CULTURAL/RELIGIOUSWater Use by TribesCoordinated Reservoir ReleasesWind and Big Horn Basin

Section 4 - SUMMARY

It must be emphasized the short-list tables reflect the knowledge and judgement of the individual that performed the exercise. When another individual having different opinions and a different level of knowledge of the projects being evaluated completes the exercise, different scores will result. Variable results will be achieved because different weights will be assigned to the evaluation criteria and different scores will be assigned to the projects.

One should recognize that the final Wind/BigHorn Basin short list is a reflection of the Planning Team.s professional opinion and an attempted quantitative evaluation. Individual BAG members and the BAG, as an entity, may disagree or find other rationale for including certain long list projects on the final short list.

Given the inherent weakness of this evaluation methodology, it is difficult, if not impossible to use the resultant short-list for anything other than to establish .a place to start.. This short list may help initiate the required investigations leading to the selection of a future water use opportunity or it may lead to a new and completely separate evaluation. The evaluated short-list is preliminary in nature and should not be used by the Wyoming Water Development Commission or any other funding entity to prioritize funding awards.

Appendix A
Long List of Potential Future Water Use Projects