Our practice includes water law, an area of growing concern in Montana. Montana is adjudicating water decrees in each and every one of Montana’s water basins. If you have water rights, you must ensure that they are protected. Often, the determination of water rights may require an investigation into historical usage.
You may find yourself in a dispute with other water users as drought, changing climate, housing development, and energy development put pressure upon Montana’s finite water supplies.
Examples of water law issues that we handle include:
Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) applications for water permits and change of use permits. The DNRC has extensive regulations concerning its application process. For people attempting to find their way through that labyrinthine process, consultation with a lawyer may be helpful.
Objections to applications for water permits and change of use permits filed with DNRC. If an application with the DNRC for a water permit or change of use permit has the potential to adversely affect your water rights, you may need to file an objection. If someone has objected to your application for a water permit or change of use permit, consultation with a lawyer may be helpful.
Water Court proceedings.
Evaluation of water rights. Just having an abstract of water rights may not ensure that you actually have the rights described on the abstract. An effective investigation of existing water rights may include consideration of a statement of claim, the DNRC’s examination, the decree abstract, objections, motions, pleadings, orders by the Water Court, and historical uses of water.