WPR News
7:39 am
Mon January 14, 2008

Water director seeks help from the Capitol

Laramie, WYO – The head of the Water Development Commission says he will go to the state Legislature in February to help communities struggling with water management.

Mike Purcell says water will be an integral part in the state's ability to manage growth properly. But he adds that much of Wyoming's growth is happening in places where there is no water.

"I think this session we will be asking for funding for 10 or 12 master plans for municipalities," Purcell says. "And in each of those cases, the thing that's driving the need for the planning is how to manage the growth that I didn't expect."

Purcell says the state should impose greater restrictions on developers who do not build adequate water resources in their subdivisions.

Purcell spoke at the governor's conference on growth last week, where he said the state has become part of the problem by agreeing to bail out developers who don't provide adequate water infrastructure.

"There should be more imposition on developers to make sure they are providing the services that are needed for that subdivision. And not only for a week or two, but for the long term," he says.

Purcell says water issues will be critical as the state tries to manage its growth. And he says the key is understanding future demand so the state can get ahead of the curve.