A discussion of the state's water rights database—and how ownership information is updated within it—will kick off the Montana Legislature's Water Policy Interim Committee (WPIC) two-day meeting Sept. 14-15. The committee will also finalize reports, recommendations, and legislation.
The Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) is upgrading the Water Rights Information System, which contains information on approximately 360,000 water rights. In response to WPIC's work on water right ownership updates, the DNRC is also updating an internal policy handbook.
The WPIC meeting will be conducted in two Zoom segments at 1 p.m. Sept. 14 and at 9 a.m. Sept. 15.
As part of this, the committee will consider the following reports:
- HJ14: Prospects for a Future Water Court
- HJ40: Seeding Clouds
- Climate and Water Rights
The committee will also discuss legislation related to:
- weather modification
- adjudication benchmarks
- water right ownership updates and the use of geocodes
The WPIC will also review submitted public comments on their reports and draft legislation. The committee may meet again in October.
This meeting is open to the public. The meetings will be streamed live on www.leg.mt.gov and broadcast on the Montana Public Affairs Network (MPAN). An archived recording of the meeting will also be made immediately available on www.leg.mt.gov.
To participate, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and a request, and staff will send instructions for joining and participating in the meeting by 5 p.m. Sept. 10. Written comments may be emailed to staff and forwarded to the committee. Additional information on joining these meetings will be provided on the committee website, www.leg.mt.gov/water, and on the committee agenda.
The WPIC is led by Rep. Zach Brown, D-Bozeman, chairman, and Sen. Jeffrey Welborn, R-Dillon, vice-chairman. Other members of the committee are: Sen. Jill Cohenour (D-E. Helena), Sen. Bruce “Butch” Gillespie (R-Ethridge), Sen. Jon Sesso (D-Butte), Rep. Bob Brown (R-Thompson Falls), Rep. Carl Glimm (R-Kila), Rep. Bradley Maxon Hamlett (D-Cascade), Rep. Shane Morigeau (D-Missoula), and Rep. Walt Sales (R-Manhattan).