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Apr 5, 2013 4:27 PM by Eric Ross

Forecast: North Platte water shortage deepens

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A new snowmelt forecast predicts an even greater water shortage in the upper sections of the North Platte River and its tributaries in coming months.

At this rate, priority administration of water rights that has been in effect for the Wyoming portion of the river system since February appears likely to continue for some time yet.

That could affect farmers and ranchers who will need the water for irrigation.

A February runoff forecast prompted the Wyoming State Engineer's Office to issue its first wintertime call on water rights for Wyoming's portion of the North Platte drainage in eight years. The latest snowmelt forecast predicts even less runoff.

Snow depths remain well below average in the mountain ranges of Colorado and southern Wyoming that feed water into the North Platte system.

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