10-05: Water Reservations & Change of Use

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” documents 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.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that Montana Association of Conservation Districts encourage the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation to assist conservation districts in their efforts to promote beneficial use of Montana’s waters by supporting legislation allowing use of conservation district reserved water under approved development plans by exempting proposed projects from the change in appropriation process under Title 85, chapter 2, part 4, Mont. Code Ann., where:

  1. The source is identified on the original reserved water application;
  2. The original public notice reflects correct information of proposed use;
  3. All or any portion of the proposed place of use is located in any township, range, of the originally designated project boundary as defined in the original plan. ;
  4. The proposed use does not exceed 10.0 cubic feet per second or 1,000 acre feet per year; and
  5. The purpose is for agricultural irrigation.