United for Montana's Future

Farmers and Ranchers for Montana (FARM) is a grassroots coalition of farmers and ranchers, united with local leaders, Indian tribes, businesses and other Montanans committed to fair water policies and the approval of a Water Compact that quantifies and secures water access to the benefit of all Montanans.

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A revised Water Compact was developed in an open process including 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, legislators, and state and local government officials.

It was sent to the Montana Legislature for consideration during the 2015 legislative session and was passed by both houses of the Legislature, then signed 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 from across Montana.

The compact will now get sent to the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the Department of Interior, where an appointed team will review the details of the compact. The compact will then get transferred to a Congressional committee and then to the entire Congressional body to be voted on and ratified.

At home in Montana, the Compact Implementation Technical Team (CITT) will begin the first steps towards implementation, advising on the implementation of operational improvements including measuring devices, rehabilitation and betterment of Project facilities and on adaptive management as called for in the Compact, a process that will rely on local voices at public meetings.

The compact secures reliable access for water users on and off the Reservation—which is why Congressional approval and implementation of the compact is so essential for water users in our state. The compact also ensures that water can be transferred to future generations or upon sale of the land, provides new sources of water for irrigators, businesses, farmers and families, and funding for critical infrastructure repairs and improvements. Without a compact, litigation will clog the Montana Water Court – costing taxpayers, county governments and individual water users. The Compact passed by the MT Legislature provides stability and secure reliable access to water:
Protects all existing rights for domestic, commercial, municipal, industrial, stockwater or other non-irrigation use.
Creates new sources of water for irrigators, businesses, farmers and families and increases local government’s oversight role on allocation.
Protects individual property rights by ensuring that water access can be transferred to future generations or upon sale of the land.
Prevents a catastrophic logjam of the Montana Water Court that would delay action, cost taxpayers millions and force farmers, families, county governments and business to fund their own court costs.

Now that the Montana State Legislature has approved the compact, we need to ensure our Congressional delegation will take action to approve this important agreement.

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

Make your voice heard—Contact your Congressional members to encourage them to support the CSKT Water Compact today!

Will you help us take action?