LEGISLATIVE SNAPSHOT

Water

Montana’s economy and way of life depend on the availability of water

Highlights

Featured Maps

State Water Plan

Visit the Draft State Water Plan for more information.

Water resource issues are multi-faceted and often highly localized. Understanding and resolving them requires ready access to up-to-date information. Multiple local, state and federal agencies generate and use water information in carrying out their responsibilities related to the protection or allocation of Montana’s water resources. Better integration of this information will support planning, policy development and decision making at local, state and federal levels. Integration of information will also support planning and decision making by individual water users. Better access to hydrologic and climatic information at the appropriate geographic scale will result in more accurate assessments of water availability. Improved measurement and monitoring of water use will support the state’s ability to determine when water is physically and legally available to meet new demands, while protecting existing water rights. Improved access to integrated water information will also support the work of water managers to distribute water by priority. - Excerpt, State Water Plan, Draft August 2014.

Montana Water Supply Resources

The Montana Governor’s Drought and Water Supply Advisory Committee is charged with monitoring, forecasting, and reporting water supply and moisture conditions, enabling Montanans to make timely and informed decisions to mitigate drought impacts in a proactive manner. For historic analysis, up-to-date information, and maps on Montana’s current drought situation, visit: http://drought.mt.gov/ and https://mslservices.mt.gov/Geographic_Information/Maps/drought/.

Surface Water Supply Index Maps

Visit the Surface Water Supply Index Mapping page

Extremely Dry -4 to -3
Moderately Dry -2.9 to -2.0
Slightly Dry -1.9 to -1.0
Near Average -0.9 to 0.9
Slightly Wet 1.0 to 1.9
Moderately Wet 2.0 to 2.9
Extremely Wet 3.0 to 4.0
SWSI Not Applicable

Montana Percent of Normal Annual Precipitation

Water Rights and Adjudication

The Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Water Adjudication Bureau assists the Montana Water Court in the adjudication of all claims to pre July 1, 1973 water rights. The Bureau examines all claims pursuant to Supreme Court rules and provides a summary report to the Water Court on each of the basins (85) in the state. Pursuant to legislation passed in 2005 the Bureau must complete the examination of the remaining 57,000 claims (as of 2005) by June 30, 2015. The map below shows the current status of the adjudication process. Visit http://dnrc.mt.gov/wrd/water_rts/

DNRC Basin Location and Adjudication Status Web App

DNRC Water Rights Query System

The Montana State Library and Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) have worked together to build the Water Rights Query System, which provides online access to the DNRC database of water rights information. For more information, visit http://nris.mt.gov/dnrc/waterrights/

Wetland and Riparian Mapping Status by USGS Topographic Quad

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