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Cloud seeding to play role in Wyoming water management

View from the plane used in cloud seeding research.
Irina Zhorov
View from the plane used in cloud seeding research.

How to deal with future variability in water supplies was the topic of conversation at a conference Wednesday about water use and energy development.

Wyoming Water Development Commission Director Harry LaBonde says managing the state’s water supply will require a multi-pronged approach: conservation, storage and weather modification, or cloud-seeding.

The state has been studying the effectiveness of cloud seeding for the last eight years. Final results of the study won’t be available until 2015, but LaBonde says an increase in snowpack on the order of 10 percent is possible.

“And then if you have storage facilities to capture that water, I can’t think of a better combination of tools to help us, again, deal with the variable climate that we deal with in Wyoming,” LaBonde says.

The state has been slow to build water storage facilities in the past, but LaBonde says several projects are currently on the drawing board, and he’s hoping to move forward with them soon.

In addition to weather modification and storage, LaBonde emphasized the importance of conservation.

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