WHEREAS, the intent of the Montana Legislature, through the Montana Water Use Act, Title 85, chapter 2, parts 1 through 4, is to provide for the wise utilization, development, and conservation of the waters of the State of Montana for the maximum benefit of its people with the least possible degradation of the natural aquatic ecosystem; and,
WHEREAS, the Act specifically provides at Section 85-2-316, Montana Code Annotated, for the establishment of reservations of water by state and federal governmental entities, including conservation districts; and,
WHEREAS, conservation districts have, through the completion of a general plan for the development of each conservation district’s reserved water, and through yearly and/or 10-year comprehensive reports, provided proof of reasonable diligence; and,
WHEREAS the 1978 “Order of Board of Natural Resources and Conservation Establishing Water Reservations in the Yellowstone River” the purpose of each conservation district water reservation, the need for each conservation district water reservation, the amount of water necessary for the purpose(s) of each conservation district reservation, and that the conservation district reservation(s) are in the public interest; and,
WHEREAS, conservation districts are in a continual struggle for funding, especially in the eastern half of the state where income opportunities are substantially limited as compared to western Montana; and,
WHEREAS, state budget restrictions have reduced financial support of districts.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Montana Association of Conservation Districts encourages the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation to assist conservation districts in their efforts to promote beneficial use of Montana’s waters through the change in appropriation right process to allow use of conservation district reserved water for purposes other than agriculture.
MACD Committee Assignment/Recommendation: Water Resources/Do Fail