Kelly Bennett, Managing Partner of Water Sage, takes a look back at what the team has accomplished in 2016 and what we’re planning for 2017.
Understanding water rights can be a daunting task. I know, because I didn’t understand a thing about them as little as ten months ago, but since then I’ve found they are one of the most important aspects of land value in Montana and the West.
Montana’s Water Policy Interim Committee (WPIC) will hold its next meeting August 29-30 at the Capitol in Helena – and it’s a critical time for water rights holders to become engaged. Even if you belong to a group represented by a lobbyist, now is the time to become better informed and let the Legislature know what you think and how their decisions impact Montana water users.
The Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling on May 2nd that struck down bans and moratoriums on fracking has assured two things: one, a fight about fracking at the ballot box, and two, be on the lookout for other creative production-halting threats. Where are oil and gas companies getting their water from? Is it from a secured, legal and reliable source that know won’t be changing?
What if an oil and gas operator purchases water knowing that the seller deceptively purchased it for agricultural use? Does it make a difference if the operator is unaware of any deception, but knows that the water isn’t approved for industrial use? Water Sage tackles the question of stolen water in Colorado.
You own a home with a well, some acreage with a spring-fed pond or a large agricultural operation with livestock and acres of irrigated hay. You are positive you own water rights, but a search of the state website does not list any water rights in your name or the ranch name. Does this mean you don’t own any rights? Why aren‘t your water rights listed in the state database?
Texas is facing many of the same challenges as California: drought, population growth, and groundwater depletion. California is in a state of crisis. And there is one aspect of California’s water administration that Texas shares: a patchwork approach to management. How can Texas avoid the same fate?
Learn how the Montana water rights adjudication started as a local, personalized process using field investigation and personal interviews, but evolved into a procedure involving a centralized system which now relies on document review, Claims Examination Rules and an examination manual spanning over 600 pages.
Rain barrels are in the news again in Colorado, the only state in the US where collection of rainwater is illegal. Many react with a question: why is rainwater capture, a strategy that seems aligned with a water conservation ethic, still illegal in a dry state that needs to conserve water? Others answer just as strongly that the longstanding and tightly managed “prior appropriation” system of Western water rights must be protected. What are some of the finer points overlooked in this debate?
Here at Water Sage, we wade into all things water, especially in Montana, where water leaders meet policy challenges head on. Through our upcoming blog series on state legislative issues we’ll help you navigate Montana’s water policy changes, so you can participate in shaping that policy. Stay in touch with our team if you have questions – we love to help spur conversations about water resources!