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Wyoming water officials will soon have the resources needed to restore equipment used to monitor flooding in the state after President Obama on Wednesday signed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act.

The law includes provisions drafted by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., that provides for the restoration of stream gauges that monitor flooding and drought and to provide funding for rural communities in the state to comply with federal environmental regulations.

Barrasso said the bill would save lives by providing essential data.

"As water managers, often the most important information we use is basic data describing such things as contemporaneous streamflow and snowpack,” said Wyoming State Engineer Patrick Tyrell. “Without this information, or with insufficient geographic coverage, water managers grope for answers to questions that run the gamut from scarce water supplies to flood emergency plans to seasonal runoff forecasts.”  

Federal water officials are now authorized to restore the stream gauges and snow pack monitors in the Upper Missouri Basin. The law also reauthorizes a federal assistance program to maintain and upgrade water infrastructure in six western states including Wyoming.

Reach general assignment reporter Trevor Graff at 307-266-0639 or Trevor.Graff@trib.com. Follow him on Twitter @TrevGraff.

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