The Montana Water Compact

If you’re concerned about your water rights, make your voice heard and protect your water resources today by:

  1. Joining FARM to receive updates about the status of the Compact and potential impacts to your water rights
  2. Sending a comment to Montana’s Congressional Delegation to tell them you support the Compact and its benefits
  3. Contact Senator Daines, Senator Tester, and Congressman Gianforte to encourage them to move the Compact forward

The Compact protects existing water rights and secures critical water resources for Montanans on and off the Reservation—which is why Congressional approval and implementation of the Compact is so essential for water users in our state. Once passed, the settlement legislation will generate new and sustainable economic activity to Montana.

The Compact provides stability and secures key water resources in Montana by:

Preventing endless litigation at the Montana Water Court that would delay action, cost taxpayers millions, and force farmers, families, county and city governments, and businesses into a costly legal process.
Protecting all existing rights for domestic, commercial, municipal, industrial, stock water or other non-irrigation use.
Making new sources of water available for irrigators, businesses, farmers, ranchers and families.
Protecting individual property rights by ensuring water rights can be transferred to future generations or upon sale of the land.

Current Status of the Compact

Awaiting Congressional Action

Montanans depend on our water resources. We need your help to make sure they are protected for future generations.

Make your voice heard and support the Montana Water Compact today!

Completed

Drafted Water Compact

Over the past decade, the Compact was developed through an open process that included the Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission, the Department of Interior, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, along with public input from farmers, ranchers and other irrigators, citizens, business owners, and legislators, as well as state and local government officials.

Completed

Signed into Montana Law

In 2015, the Compact was passed by both houses of the Montana State Legislature and then signed into law by Governor Steve Bullock and supported by Attorney General Tim Fox. The legislative passage of the Compact was the result of overwhelming support from farmers, ranchers, irrigators, and water users across Montana.

Completed

Referred for Federal Ratification

In 2016, the Compact was sent to the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the Department of Interior, where an appointed team is reviewing the details of the Compact. Next, the Compact will be transferred to a Congressional committee and then presented to Congress to be ratified.

In Progress

Preparing for Compact Implementation

Montana’s Compact Implementation Technical Team (CITT) is studying how best to implement the provisions of the Compact, measuring stream flows, and advising on operational improvements as called for in the Compact—a process that relies on local voices at public meetings.


Benefits of the Compact

According to a 2016 study by Cascade Economics, the federal investment from the proposed Compact legislation would create:

$52.9 Million

in Annual Economic Activity

6,330

Jobs

$744 Million

in Economic Activity in the First Decade