CHEYENNE (KGWN) - Following a nearly 10-year nine-million dollar research project, Wyoming's legislature has approved a one point four million dollar Cloud Seeding program to increase the amount of snowpack-- the state's main water source.
The project would include Big Horn, Laramie, Medicine Bow and the Sierra Madre mountains. "We are looking for precipitation increases in the next 5-10 %,” says Harry Labonde Jr., Director of Wyoming Water Development Office.
Cloud Seeding is when aircraft or generators release silver iodide particles into the air to get clouds to release moisture when we want them to.
With Wyoming running the risk of drought, scientists want to make up for the lack of moisture. "We are trying to determine if there was increased snowfall in seeded range," adds Labonde.
Scientists then, measure and compare precipitation rates between seeding and non-seeding ranges.
Of course - this technology can only enhance weather, it can't create it. "When you have weather modification programs and water storage, you really have teamwork approach where we can actually store the water for later use."
But Cloud Seeding doesn't sit well with everyone. Conspiracy theorists believe it's actually part of the government's plan to manipulate the weather so they can control our health, global warming and even do military weapons testing.
But recent tests by Wyoming Water Development show scientists found little to no trace of silver iodide in the soil after testing the snow.
"The conclusion from the report is it is not an environmental concern in terms of the amounts of silver being released."
Right now, the Cloud Seeding program is not quite ready to begin. In fact, it may take several years before all the details are worked out - including cost and the necessary environmental studies.
The Wyoming Water Development Commission invites the community to join Basin Advisory Base Meetings to give input on their views of the Cloud Seeding programs. The organization will host these meetings during the last two weeks of April.