Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By April S. Kelley
Reporter & Photographer 

Big Spring output down overall despite recent increase


The Big Spring in Hot Springs State Park shows a slight increase in output over the last three years. However, officials say the overall trend is still in decline.

According to a report from the State Engineers Office, the Big Spring has increased from 1336.42 gpm (gallons per minute) in July 2013 to 1693.51 gpm in July 2016.

The lowest output occurred in March 2014 at 1169.7 gpm, with the largest output being the last measurement in July 2016.

The output has increased almost every month in 2016, from 1444.1 gpm in January to the July output of 1693.51 gpm. The only month for which there was a slight decrease was from March's output of 1527.73 gpm to April's output of 1493.97 gpm.

Despite this increase over the last three years, Director of the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources Milward Simpson said the output of the Big Spring is still declining.

"The output of the Big Spring fluctuates," he said. "If you look at the long-term history starting in 1960, the overall trend is down and continuing to decline. There are a lot of dynamics and variables, but it's very clear if you look at the history."

Hot Springs State Park Superintendent Kevin Skates said the State Engineer's Office started measuring it monthly in 2006 and it has been on the decline.

"We probably need to get a couple more months of measuring," he said. "The State Engineer's Office said it is higher than it's been for quite a while, but we'll have to have a few more months to see what it does."

Skates said if the output of the Big Spring continues to increase, it would be good news for the park.

"It'd be wonderful if it came up," he said. "If it comes up, the thing that is going to benefit the most is the terraces. The pools are still getting the water they need and the terraces are kind of suffering. Any extra water we can get will help the terraces. From our end, that's what we're going to do."


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