Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The New Flathead Water Compact Explained

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By Steve Jess, Montana Public Radio

Deputy Attorney General Cory Swanson was involved in the latest round of talks on the new Flathead water compact, and he thinks this latest version will pass muster with irrigators who were concerned the previous version would leave them without the water they need.
    

One of the issues that you will hear a lot about in the coming months is the proposed water-rights compact between the State of Montana and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. It’s the only water compact involving a Montana reservation that remains un-ratified by the state legislature, after the first version was rejected in 2013.

Deputy Attorney General Cory Swanson was involved in the latest round of talks that led to a new compact, and he thinks this latest version will pass muster with irrigators who were concerned the previous version would leave them without the water they need.

“No agreement is perfect,” says Swanson, “however the feeling coming out of this final negotiation was that it met those objectives. It’s constitutional, and it provides answers to a lot of the concerns that the critics had.”


Swanson says several things about the new agreement make it a good deal for irrigators and the tribe. The compact has to satisfy farmers’ and ranchers’ need for water, as well as the tribes’ need to access their traditional fishing grounds. To make sure everybody has enough water, the tribes and the state agreed to an “adaptive management process” that begins with ten years of  study.

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Source: Montana Public Radio

Posted by Jami Howell 

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