State Water Rights

The Constitution of the State of Wyoming provides the following:

Article 8 - Irrigation and Water Rights

Section 1 - Water is State Property

The water of all natural streams, springs, lakes or other collections of still water, within the boundaries of the state, are hereby declared to be the property of the state.

Section 2 - Board of Control

There shall be constituted a board of control, to be composed of the state engineer and superintendents of the water divisions; which shall, under such regulations as may be prescribed by law, have the supervision of the waters of the state and of their appropriation, distribution and diversion, and of the various officers connected therewith. Its decisions to be subject to review by the courts of the state.

Section 3 - Priority of Appropriation

Priority of appropriation for beneficial uses shall give the better right. No appropriation shall be denied except when such denial is demanded by the public interests.

Section 4 - Water Divisions

The legislature shall by law divide the state into four (4) water divisions, and provide for the appointment of superintendents thereof.

Section 5 - State Engineer

There shall be a state engineer who shall be appointed by the governor of the state and confirmed by the senate; he shall hold his office for the term of 6 years, or until his successor shall have been appointed and shall have qualified. He shall be president of the board of control, and shall have general supervision of the waters of the state and of the officers connected with its distribution. No person shall be appointed to this position who has not such theoretical knowledge and such practical experience and skill as shall fit him for the position.

State Requirements

Please Note, a permit is required from the State Engineer’s Office for any use of the State’s Water. All applications for surface water (irrigation and reservoir, etc.) and/or ground water (well/springs) can be obtained through the State Engineer’s Office in Cheyenne, WY by calling 307-777-7354 or by mailing a request to:

State Engineer’s Office

Herschler Building, 4th Floor East

Cheyenne, WY 82002

These application forms should also be available at the local field office. Additionally, you may file an application electronically on e-Permit. Please visit the SEO website and choose e-Permit from the list on the left-hand side of the homepage (you will need to register as a new user). Depending on workload from the State Engineer’s Office, these application usually take approximately 3 to 6 months, so please plan accordingly.