Wyoming State Geological Survey
Wallace L. Ulrich
Acting Director & State Geologist
Wyoming State Geological Survey
P.O. Box 1347
Laramie, WY 82073

News Release
February 4, 2011

Acting Director and State Geologist Wallace Ulrich today digitally, launched a new Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS) product.

The Greater Green River Basin Water Plan is massive new study, accomplished with the cooperation of US Geological Survey Water Science Center and the University of Wyoming Water Resources Data System for the Wyoming Water Development Commission, the funding agency of the project. The report assesses available groundwater resources in the Greater Green River Basin of southwestern Wyoming and small adjacent areas of Utah and Colorado. The Greater Green River Basin comprises the Green River, Washakie and Great Divide Basins.

The report forms part of an overall water use plan for the Greater Green River Basin; the plan is one of the seven major Wyoming river basin plans composing the Wyoming Framework Water Plan under the direction of the Wyoming Water Development Commission.

Director Ulrich said “ Scott Quillinan, our leader of Geohydrology Programs at the Survey created with a team of our scientists a vital tool for anyone interested in Wyoming’s water, and here in the arid high West, is everyone. Not only is this work massive it is also easily available to anyone. Today we posted the Greater Green River Basin Water Plan on our website for download and we launched a new interactive tool at the website for easy interactive work in the Plan.” Ulrich praised Quillinan, the teams and the WWDC for producing detailed work vital to the public and other agencies.

Scott Quillinan, WSGS geologist and project coordinator said “The Green River Basin report is the result of two years of research and compilation, by staff scientists at the WSGS and USGS.

“Many folks have put a lot of hard work and dedication into this project, and the report certainly illustrates that. I anticipate that it will be well received by water planners in local communities as well as other state agencies. The report is free to the public and can be downloaded from links at the Survey and directly from the Wyoming Water Development Commission website” Quillinan added.

Quillinan was excited to open the interactive version of the report along with the associated GIS data where all can be accessed from the WSGS website.

Ulrich added that the report is a current assessment of what we know about the groundwater resources in the Greater Green River Basin. “Energy development and associated population increases and business development have led to greater demands for water in the Basin. The estimated annual aquifer recharge rate for most of the basin is generally less than two inches per year. Any decisions pertaining to water use in the Green River Basin including the commitment of groundwater resources that we may now have in seeming surplus to out-of-state use.

The report divides the rock layers in the GGRB into hydrogeologic units – aquifers and non-aquifers – and traces them across the basin, describing the physical characteristics and chemistry of the water in the rock layers. “Hydrogeologic units are not always the same as the geologic rock units; this report provides a chart that very vividly bridges this gap, thus making geologic maps and cross-sections, which many groundwater planners have pinned to their wall right now, a much more effective tool. To this, add in the USGS descriptions of water quality and hydraulic characteristics of each hydrogeologic unit, and you have a very powerful resource”. Quillinan said.

The report also addresses groundwater resources, recharge, discharge, storage and use. Quillian added : “One question I often get from the public – I am drilling a well, where can I find groundwater? A difficult question to answer, but using the information presented in this report anyone can look at the map of the groundwater wells permitted by the State Engineer’s office, and can identify where other wells have had success. They can also identify the water bearing formations underneath his/her property and estimate the quality of that water.” The title of the report is “Available groundwater determination, Technical Memorandum: WWDC Green River basin Water Plan II – Groundwater study Level I (2007-2009)”. The report is free to the public and accessible online at the following address www.wsgs.wyo.gov/

The mission of the WSGS is to promote the beneficial and environmentally sound use of Wyoming’s vast geologic, mineral and energy resources while helping protect the public from geologic hazards. By providing accurate information and expanding knowledge through the application of geologic principles, the WSGS contributes to economic growth and improvement in the quality of life for Wyoming’s residents.

Wallace Ulrich
Acting Director & State Geologist

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