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WWRC 83-03
Wyoming Water Research Progress Report FY 1982

Executive Summary

The Wyoming Water Research Center (WWRC) was established in 1982 with funds provided by the Wyoming Legislature. Located on the campus of the University of Wyoming and administered through the Vice-President for Research and Graduate Studies Office, the Center began operations on July 1, 1982. The WWRC has as its principal charge the conduct of a comprehensive water research program that specifically addresses the conservation, development and management of Wyoming water resources. In addition to the research function of the Center, programs involving service to the water agencies of the state, information dissemination, and education in water resources are important components of the Center's activities.

During the 18-month period of its existence, the WWRC has funded 20 research projects totalling $636,971 from a biennial appropriation of $650,000 in state funds. An additional 13 projects totalling $167,226 from a federal allocation of $225,388 have been funded. All of the 33 projects are relevant to the State of Wyoming's need for information regarding preservation, conservation, development and management of water resources.

The technical staff of the Water Center also maintains the Snowy Range Observatory, located 35 miles west of Laramie. This heavily instrumented, subalpine research watershed is used by faculty and staff of the University for the conduct of a variety of hydrologic and environmental research.

A second major function of the Water Center is the provision of both short- and long-term service to water agencies and the state as a whole. This function is handled primarily by the Center's technical staff, though water expertise from 52 University faculty representing 20 departments and 5 colleges is readily available. Service activities range from the preparation of brief literature reviews to the development of large, computer-based storage and retrieval data systems.

The Water Center is currently the home of the Water Resources Data System (WRDS), funded by the State Engineer's Office. This Wyoming database is the largest single source of hydrologic and climatologic data in the world. A second computer-based system has been developed during the past 18 months to detail all past and current reports related to water resources in Wyoming. This system, the Wyoming Water Bibliography, is designed to prevent duplication of research effort as well as provide a useful information base. Currently, the system holds the citations and locations of approximately 11,000 reports.

The value of research is diminished if the results are not made available to the proper user groups. Thus, a valuable function of the Water Center lies in the area of extension and information dissemination. The findings of Center sponsored research are publicized through a number of mechanisms, including Water Center Series Publications, Center sponsored conferences and symposia, publications in scientific literature and presentation of papers at state, regional and national meetings of water groups and professional societies. Center personnel and participants made approximately 50 such presentations during the past 18 months. Also, Water Center staff have, to date, conducted six demonstrations of the Wyoming Water Bibliography and the WRDS systems for a variety of water groups and agencies around the State. This coming spring, in coordination with the UW Extension Service, eight additional seminars will be conducted statewide to inform all interested water users about the use and availability of these systems. Seminars are scheduled at each of the seven community colleges as well as at the University of Wyoming. In addition, coordination with relevant state and federal agencies is assured through the Director's participation in the monthly Governor's Water Forum, chaired by the State Engineer, as well as the Director's participation as an advisor to the Wyoming Water Development Commission.

The University educational activities of the Center are beginning to be realized through degree options shared jointly within individual departments and colleges. An Academic Standards Committee for Water Resources Curriculum has been established and has made recommendations for a set of core courses which would allow designation of the Water Resources degree option at the Masters Degree level with appropriate departments. This program is developing and will assure the State of Wyoming a continuing resource of well-trained water resource specialists.

To date, the Wyoming Water Research Center is answering the charge of its charter as authorized by the 1982 Legislature. It has proven to be a viable organization, capable of being responsive to the State's needs, and providing for needed research, education and information dissemination. The University of Wyoming, through the WWRC, looks forward to contributing in an even more productive manner in the future to the important activities associated with Wyoming's water needs.

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