State officials have given preliminary approval to a new water master plan project for the Town of Hudson.
The master plan will “evaluate the current condition of (Hudson’s) water system and provide the tools and guidance needed to assist in the planning, rehabilitating, upgrading, and managing of their system,” according to the project description.
The master plan will also look into the potential for system regionalization in cooperation with the City of Lander.
Hudson Mayor Sherry Oler described the master plan project last week during a combined meeting of the Wyoming Legislature’s Select Water Committee and the Wyoming Water Development Commission, pointing to the “serious problems and deterioration” that the town water system has experienced over the past several years.
Those issues will make it difficult for Hudson to accommodate any increases in population that might result from rising property values in Lander and Riverton, Oler explained.
“Hudson is now the new spot that has more economically feasible property purchases, (so) we are anticipating some growth,” she said. “But if we do any more growth … we’re going to have some problems, (so) we need a road map of how to fix what we have and to move forward to prepare.”
Hudson was “approached by Lander” about the possibility of “connecting” the two towns through a regionalized water facility, Oler said, and “we are all for that” idea – though it probably won’t “be feasible for a while.”
WWDC Commissioner Clinton Glick, who represents the Wind River Reservation, asked whether the potential water system regionalization concept might expand to include other Fremont County communities like Riverton, Fort Washakie and Pavillion, for example.
WWDC project manager Mabel Jones said her team surveyed Fremont County towns, including Hudson, Riverton, Pavillion, and communities on the Wind River Reservation, “to see what the interest would be in regionalization” as part of Lander’s water master plan process.
“Riverton did not indicate an interest in that at this time,” Jones said. “But Hudson (did), and then there was also some discussion of maybe tying in with the Tribes in terms of emergency water systems.”
Wyoming Sen. Larry Hicks, R-Baggs, said it would “make all the sense in the world” to incorporate the potential regionalization project as part of the master plan study.
The proposed budget for Hudson water master plan has not yet been set.
Another local master plan project was accepted during last week’s meeting, for the Midvale Irrigation District.
District manager Steve Lynn said his team has “accomplished quite a bit” since its last master plan was completed in 2007, including “almost all of the recommendations for structure repair and replacement” – but he noted that there is still “a lot more work to do,” and “we would like to have some guidance on what our next steps are.”
“We are basically proactively addressing the critical, aging infrastructure – which we all know is quite the problem,” Lynn said.
The cost for the new master plan project has not yet been determined.