Reason prevailed this week when the State Engineer’s Ground Water Advisory Committee recommended that one extended family’s application for eight new high-capacity water wells be denied.
After more than a year and a three-day contested case hearing, during which surrounding landowners united in opposition to the granting of these permits, the five-member Advisory Committee issued a decision recommending that the State Engineer deny these permits.
It was almost unbelievable that someone would apply to extract 1.5 billion gallons of water per year from the High Plains Aquifer, in part of Laramie County that has been determined to be a water shortage area. Rural residents rely on the High Plains Aquifer for their potable drinking water. The decision emphasized the negative impact that these wells would have on the springs and creeks in the Horse Creek Valley.
Most importantly, the recommendation to deny these permits sets the precedent that no additional high-capacity water wells using water from the High Plains Aquifer in the designated water shortage area of Laramie County should be approved.
Now it’s up to the State Engineer to ratify the recommendation of its Ground Water Advisory Committee by denying these permits. Let’s hope that politics does not raise its ugly head and cause a different result.