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“Gimme Some Water” - Report Shows Wyoming Will be Extra Thirsty

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August 29, 2007

Cheyenne, WY – Prolonged drought in some areas of Wyoming may just be a sign of the times –- and climate change gets the blame, according to a new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Report coauthor Barry Nelson says Western states should prepare themselves for shrinking water resources that will grow even less dependable as weather cycles change.

"The sources that the West was developed on -– pumping water from our rivers, building surface storage projects, pumping groundwater -– are probably going to perform more poorly."

Nelson notes that fighting over water in the courts, a fairly typical Western scenario, isn’t a good long-term solution. Instead, states must learn to cooperate in order to provide sufficient water for farming, households, development and wildlife. Montana filed suit against Wyoming earlier this year over water rights related to coalbed methane development.

In the meantime, Nelson adds there are things Wyomingites can do to stretch dwindling water supplies.

"Things like water conservation, wastewater reclamation and protecting watersheds; some of those tools could actually perform better over time."

The full report, "In Hot Water: Water Management Strategies to Weather the Effects of Global Warming," can be found online at

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - WY