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Support Flathead Water Compact

December 19, 2019

"Whiskey is for drinking. Water is forfighting!" Mark Twain made this quip over 100 years ago.

In the West, water represents the region's the life blood, and indeed people in the West appear to like to fight over water. We can't say that water fights brings out the best in people! But thanks to the hard work of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and many people, at long last western Montana has a chance to settle a water fight that's already lasted too long. Senator Tester and Senator Daines have introduced the Montana Water Rights Protection Act of 2016. The bill has the support of the administration and represents the kind of bipartisan agreement that leads to success. We commend senators Daines and Testers for finding a way forward.

The Flathead Water Compact underpins this legislation. The Compact took over a decade to negotiate, two Montana legislative sessions to approve, and two separate bills in Congress (Tester introduced a bill in 2016). The Montana Water Rights Protection Act does what its name implies. It protects Tribal water rights that predate Montana statehood by 44 years. And it protects existing irrigators' rights on the Flathead Indian Reservation by, in part, providing funds to modernize the Flathead Irrigation Project. This will help reduce water waste as well as provide more water agriculture and for fish and wildlife.

Now Congress needs to act.

You can play an important role in ensuring this legislation passes and the Compact gets finalized. Please writer or call both Senator Daines and Senator Tester supporting congressional ratification of the Compact. Please write today!