Saturday, April 01, 2023

Defend your water rights

| February 1, 2023 9:00 AM

Objections to the Preliminary Decree (CSKT Water Compact) must be received by the Montana Water Court in Bozeman by Feb. 9. This is an opportunity for the general public to respond to the CSKT Compact (Preliminary Decree Process) that has passed the Montana legislature and Congress. The purpose of this judicial review is to determine if the CSKT Compact is fair and reasonable to those parties and the public interest who were not represented in the negotiations but have interests that could be materially injured by implementation of the compact. This is our chance to determine if our water rights would be adversely affected if the management was turned over to CSKT.

Based on our knowledge that agricultural water users living on private property within the Flathead Reservation had their water delivered late and stopped early last summer is evidence that the same thing could happen to us. Also, the flood last year that damaged our crops and houses last year was likely caused by lack of maintenance on the reservation dam. We have no assurance in the Preliminary Decree that our water rights will be protected. Also, the CSKT compact covers more than just individual water rights. Water for future development from the headwaters of the Flathead River, Hungry Horse Dam and Flathead Lake may not be available

if the compact is implemented.

To prepare for the Montana Water Court and defend your water rights start by searching (Google) on your computer: to get forms and information needed to file your objections to the Preliminary Decree in order to protect your water rights.

For example: my water right is consistent with the state, federal and local laws which require purpose of water, amount, location, flow rate, when it is used, etc. None of this is required in the preliminary degree. Montana is just giving our state owned water for use by individuals to a separate nation that has its own constitution and laws.

CSKT gets their water from the Mission Mountains and a water right on the Flathead River. My water rights will likely be crowded out and few, if any, new water rights will be issued in the future.

Verdell Jackson, Kalispell

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