Water is Montana’s most precious resource. From hiking mountain lakes, fishing and floating rivers, to watering our fields and cattle; our fresh water is an important factor for life and recreation in our Big Sky state.
I spent a couple of hours with Brant Lumpkin, a Compliance Technician, with the State of Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC). He had a wealth of information regarding our water resources and I will share some of that with you.
What is a Water Right? A water right allows you to legally use water in a prescribed manner, but not to own the water itself. Without diversion and beneficial use, there is no water right. Water rights in Montana are basically broken down into two groups.
- 1.Water rights that were established prior to July 1,1973 are administered by the Adjudication Bureau.
- 2. Water rights that were established from July 1, 1973 through the present are administered by the New Appropriations Program.
If you want to know more about our precious water resources contact your local DNRC office.