The state’s alluvial aquifers interact closely with associated surface water flows. In high mountain catchments, groundwater contributes to streamflow when it is discharged from springs and seeps along “gaining” stream reaches. Further downstream, the flow of water may be reversed and the stream may recharge an associated alluvial aquifer in a “losing” reach. In many cases, gaining and losing reaches alternate along the same streambed depending on the relative elevations of groundwater and streamflow and local geologic conditions.
Bedrock aquifers receive recharge at their outcrops on the basin margins from direct precipitation and infiltrating streamflows. The state’s shallow bedrock aquifers produce freshwater close to their recharge areas. Frequently, the same aquifer produces oil and gas from petroleum reservoirs deeper in the basins where the groundwater is more saline and unsuitable for drinking and agriculture. Wells that draw from the shallow margin bedrock aquifers can be artesian, flowing artesian, or water table wells.
Water Resources Data System
Online water and climate data for Wyoming, links to drought and snowpack data, sponsored by the Wyoming Water Development Commission.
Wyoming Water Development Commission
Agency information, Wyoming Water Planning Program, research projects and funding, publications, water development projects and public comment.
Wyoming State Engineers Office
Groundwater regulations, forms, water well construction requirements, monitoring network information, surface water information and data, water rights data.
United States Geological Survey
Data, programs and publications on groundwater, aquifers and wells; Information on quality of water resources, USGS Water Science Glossary and Hydrologic Definitions.
The Hydrogeologist’s Home Page
Employment, geospatial resources, software, earth science resources, weather and climate data, environmental science equipment.
National Ground Water Association
Website for groundwater professionals, professional services and resources, research and journal publications, advocacy, educational and public service information.
Wyoming Surface Water
The use of Wyoming’s water is managed by the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality monitors water quality. These agencies serve important roles in the management of Wyoming’s water resources. Any events – changes in climate, drought, vegetation change, fires, insect outbreaks – that impact our mountain watersheds will have major consequences for all Wyoming water users, as well as for water users downstream.
Wyoming is the fifth driest state in the United States. More than 70 percent of the state receives less than 16 inches of precipitation on average each year. Wyoming also has the second highest mean elevation in the United States at 6,700 feet. Mountain snowpack runs off to form the headwaters of Wyoming’s major river systems and helps recharge aquifer systems.
Three of America's major river systems have their headwaters in Wyoming: the Missouri, the Colorado, and the Columbia. Other major rivers include the Yellowstone, the Bighorn, the North Platte, the Green, and the Snake.
Surface Water Map of Wyoming
The Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS) in 2009 released Surface Water Resource Map of Wyoming: Streamflows and Storage
showing stream flows and surface water storage in Wyoming. This unique and comprehensive map product includes current and historic streamflow and reservoir capacity data.
The map is available for purchase in hardcopy with accompanying CD that illustrates the minimum, average and maximum streamflow rates at 330 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) gage locations across Wyoming and the maximum storage capacities of reservoirs and volumes of major lakes. The map also features watershed boundaries, surface water facts and trivia, tables of the 10 largest lakes and rivers, and inset maps of structural geology and the headwaters and routes of Wyoming rivers.
Wyoming State Engineer’s Office
Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality
USGS live stream gages data
Wyoming Water Resource Database (WWRDS)
Bureau of Reclamation reservoir data
NRCS snowpack reports