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DNRC Launches New Website for Water Users, State Land Lessees

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 Helena, Mont. –, The Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC)announced a new websiteto assist Montanans navigating the complex issue of water right ownership.

State trust land lessees and water users with questions regarding ownership of water rights used on state trust lands in Montana should visit WaterComplaint.mt.gov.  

In 2019, the legislature passed House Bill 286 (HB 286), requiring the DNRC to remove its name as a co-owner on certain water rightspreviously claimed by the agency. When the law was challenged, the Gianforte administration defended the law in front of the Montana Supreme Court.As a result,DNRC has removed itself from numerouswater rights and overhauled its approach to better assist Montanans, protect property rights, and meet its constitutional obligation to generate revenue to benefit Montana’s public schools. 

State Trust Lands lesseeswho own or co-own a water right with the Montana State Board of Land Commissioners/Trust Land Management Division and have concerns regarding compliance with HB 286, MCA 85-2-441may complete a form on this websiteDNRC will review and respond to inquiries within 30 days, in the order in which requests are received.