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Murky water issue gets muddier

Posted: Friday, Feb 22nd, 2013


Pioneer Editor

MOUNTAIN VIEW – The Bridger Valley Joint Powers (BVJPB) water board tossed around various ideas at their meeting Wednesday, Feb. 13, with no conclusive ideas.

According to chair Bob Stoddard and engineer Ken Walker, no real information was received from the state. However, Jade Henderson, supervisor of Water Division #4 based in Cokeville, had suggested the BVJP send a formal letter to the State Board of Control with specific questions they want answered. Henderson said, according to Walker, once the State Board of Control received the letter, it would have to answer it.

Henderson had said he would be willing to meet with the BVJPB, but indicated he “wasn’t interested in a public meeting,” Walker said. Henderson said he would prefer to meet in a more informal setting, and he “would give his interpretation” of questions concerning the transfer of water rights to the BVJPB. However, Henderson said, the official word would ultimately have to come from the State Board of Control, according to Walker.

The controversy over the turn over of water rights to the BYVJP surfaced some time ago when the board contacted users and said they needed to turn over water rights to receive water service from the system. Primarily, members of the former Blacks Fork water district have been the most vocal objecting to the turn over of water rights. They said the turn over was not requested when the BVJPB took over the district. In addition, members of the Blacks Fork District say they have been approached by and supported by users in other parts of the Valley who have received the same request.

At the board’s meeting on Feb. 13, Stoddard said he had talked to adjudication officer Allan Cunningham. Stoddard said he wanted to know, “If we run out of water, can we come to you and you will find us some water?” He also said, “I knew I wouldn’t get much of an answer.”

Stoddard also said, “My main concern…where does the state stand on this” if a “legal battle” occurred. Cunningham said the state “would go with the state statutes,” Stoddard said.

For the complete article see the 02-22-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 02-22-2013 paper.

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