“Whiskey’s for drinking; water’s for fighting!” Most folks living in Montana have heard the familiar line more than a few times – it’s become a cliché in our arid landscape – and in most conversations, it draws some chuckles, laughs and a few head shakes.

Property taxpayers living in the 3 Mile Gravity Flow System of the Bitter Root Irrigation District are not chuckling or laughing these days, but a lot of us sure are shaking our heads over current and past actions of the BRID board of directors. We are mostly shaking our heads to say “no - no way!” to the BRID board’s current campaign of fear-mongering, misinformation, and twisted and selective legal interpretations to try and either trick or intimidate water users in the 3 Mile system into signing a petition to create a 3 Mile sub-district of BRID.

Why is the BRID board so intent on waging their sub-district campaign? Because they failed to plan for the long-term maintenance of the 3 Mile Gravity Flow System once water users finished paying for the infrastructure, just like they failed to plan for the long-term maintenance and eventual replacement of the main canal pipeline and siphons. You can only do so much with JB Weld and duct tape.

There’s another cliché the BRID board perhaps should focus on rather than the “whiskey – water” one; it goes “Failing to plan is a plan to fail.” Now the board is looking for more money, and they see the sub-district mechanism as the means to get it by selectively taxing water users in the 3 Mile system. Don’t be fooled or feel forced to buy in to the BRID board’s campaign for this sub-district. 

Jim Rokosch, 


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