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Old 03-23-2015, 10:35 AM
 
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How are water rights in Montana different than in Wyoming?
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Old 03-23-2015, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Kingman - Anaconda
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No clue on Wyoming but we have had good results getting water rights on our property.

Montana DNRC
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Old 03-23-2015, 07:24 PM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
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In Wyoming, the state owns ALL water. You buy permits to use it. No matter if its a stream, a well, or even a spring that originat s on your property, the state owns the water and you have to purchase a permit to use the water.
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Old 03-24-2015, 08:26 AM
 
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Here this explains Montana water- http://www.montana.edu/wwwwdr/manuals/rights.pdf

Water rights were established early in the Western part of state due to mining. Water has been adjudicate d by watershed (each major river& tributaries). Some in Eastern Montana may still not be complete. Water rights are applied by seniority....so if there is not water to fulfill all the claimed rights the older ones will be filled first.
Prior to purchasing property it is advisable to have the water rights researched by an attorney with water court experience, preferably a former water master. Sometimes water rights have been severed from the land in real estate acquisition combining & dividing. Or rights were never filed or filed extremely late and are only usable in extreme high water. Just because a property has a water right for 200 miners inches of water from a stream flowing by does not mean it will get use of it. It may be a right junior to another on stream, a 1912 right compared to bunch of 1880s rights.
A water court can at request of users assign water use overseers called ditch walkers or ditch riders, the users will all be assessed a fee to cover this. It is against the law to touch another's headgate (water control device) or water weir (measuring device). A ditch rider can. Or if no court appointed rider, a sheriff can assist a landowner with a recalcitrant neighbor stealing water.
Did you have a specific question?
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Old 03-24-2015, 08:30 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElkHunter View Post
In Wyoming, the state owns ALL water. You buy permits to use it. No matter if its a stream, a well, or even a spring that originat s on your property, the state owns the water and you have to purchase a permit to use the water.
Ok, so Montana doesn't really have any water rights then? I was aware of Wyoming's situation, but I didn't know if any other states around there also have that.

Where I'm at now, if you drill a well it's your water, as far as I know.
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Old 03-24-2015, 09:53 AM
 
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No.
In Montana you need apply for/file for water right to use water well.
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Old 03-24-2015, 11:04 AM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
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Montana has surface rights that can be tricky. Most water is filed on using miners inches to measure. Most larger streams and rivers have rights filed on them, even some of the small seeps, but, that said, if a stream or river passes through your property your livestock can drink there, you just can't use it for irrigation or for your home.

Places away from a stream or river may have an irrigation district where you buy ditch rights for a certain amount of water.

Subsurface rights normally belong to whoever drills for the water.

The state does have rights as well and mostly those are to preserve instream flows for fish and wildlife, and the state owns most of the rights to larger bodies of water such as lakes.

Some rights have been deeded to the Fish and Game for these purposes also from private donations.

Because of our mining past, surface water for placer mining is the law that was established, and part of that is the fact in the eastern end of the state, subsurface water can be a loooooooong way down.

You do have to be careful with runoff dams for instance, because once the rain hits the ground or the snow melts it becomes surface water. The Fish and Game can be pretty picky about diverting runoff from streams.
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Old 03-24-2015, 07:56 PM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
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Originally Posted by purplepeach View Post
Ok, so Montana doesn't really have any water rights then? I was aware of Wyoming's situation, but I didn't know if any other states around there also have that.

Where I'm at now, if you drill a well it's your water, as far as I know.
No, I didn't say anything about Montana. Simply stated Wyoming water rights so people had something to compare with.
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Old 03-25-2015, 07:38 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElkHunter View Post
No, I didn't say anything about Montana. Simply stated Wyoming water rights so people had something to compare with.

Ok. Thanks.

Another question for all-

Have you ever experienced or know someone who has experienced a time when water was unavailable to them or you due to water shortage? Just wondering the reality of it's limits.
And if so, what area was it in? I presume some areas are more vulnerable than others.

I am interested in hearing from both wyoming and montana residents, or anyone affected by water rights.
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Old 03-25-2015, 03:42 PM
 
Location: Montana
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I have a well that produces 30gpm on my property, and don't expect to ever have an issue with water. I am not a rancher/farmer though, so my water usage is more typical of a suburban home and vegitable garden. I have enough land that I could drop a second well if need be, but don't see that in my future.

I have a river running near my property with access rights (but not water rights), so if I really needed drinking water in a pinch, I could obtain it, but I would be acting illegally.
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