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Solar power coming to Wyoming ranches

CHEYENNE, Wyo., April 1 (UPI) -- Several Wyoming ranchers will soon be using new solar- and wind-powered pumps to provide a new water source for livestock and wildlife.

The new technology offers ranchers an alternative to traditional surface water and windmill-pumped groundwater, the Casper Star-Tribune reported Friday.

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The state will help deploy the pumps developed by the University of Wyoming Electric Motor Training and Testing Center. In the pilot stage, two to four pumps will be set up in each of the state's 23 counties to access groundwater.

"With Wyoming's ongoing drought, surface water is not as readily available as we might like," Gov. Dave Freudenthal said at a Thursday demonstration outside the Capitol.

The governor hopes the technology will give ranchers new flexibility in managing water for their operations.

Rancher Mark Morel, who has used the pump, said they helped spread the cattle out and better use the rangeland. He said the pumps also benefited wildlife in the area.

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