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The Last Negotiated Water Compact

by Rep. Dan Salomon
Photo Credit: Bitterroot via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Montana via Compfight cc

History

In 1972 the new Montana Constitution required that all water be accounted for and quantified in the state of Montana.  By 1979 many Montana leaders realized that if they did not have a way to deal with Federal Reserved Water Rights the adjudication process in Montana could be divisive, long and expensive.  The legislature created the Montana Reserved Water Rights Commission to attempt to negotiate all water rights emanating from the federal government.  The compact commission has completed seventeen of the eighteen federal water rights in the state.  Six of those are with Indian tribes.  The eighteenth and final compact to be completed is the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Compact.  Continue reading

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