University of Wyoming experts hired to help Laramie County come up with water supply solution

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CHEYENNE, Wyoming — Laramie County has hired experts from the University of Wyoming to help it come up with ways to solve its groundwater supply problems.

County commissioners approved a $20,000 contract with the university's Ruckelshaus Institute of Environmental and Natural Resources last week, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle ( reported. The institute will run meetings of the county's new water appropriation committee through April and provide its members with expertise.

The county has been depleting its aquifer and the Wyoming State Engineer's Office recently told the county that it needs to come up with a solution by April.

Some complained that the committee's first meeting, run by Nephi Cole, a policy adviser to Gov. Matt Mead, was disorganized.

Commissioner Amber Ash said the outside help is needed because discussions on water can get emotional.

"So it's really important to have a professional facilitator to help navigate through the emotional issues and to make sure all viewpoints are heard equally," she said.

County commissioner M. Lee Hasenauer opposed the contract and said academia and government have too much representation on the committee.

The engineer's office and the county conservation district may help cover the cost of the contract, Commissioner Troy Thompson said.

The committee will hold its second meeting on Dec. 1.

Information from: Wyoming Tribune Eagle,

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