I am writing in response to the Bitter Root Irrigation District commissioner’s outrageous statements as to the Three Mile gravity system being a private water system.
You would think that a water district commissioner would know the requirements for being designated a private system. Under Montana law, the Three Mile group would have been required to have an elected executive board, the authority to incur debt, the authority to tax the membership and the group would be required to have all the easement in the area to supply water to the users.
If the commissioners had checked with Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and Ravalli District Court, they would have found that BRID is the only water system that meets all of the criteria and that no one and no group has ever applied to be a private system for Three Mile. BRID owns the Three Mile gravity system and has from the start.
The BRID commissioner’s second statement was that they were "just" the sponsors of the Three Mile system. That one they got right; however, if they had looked at the Montana Water Code under which the Three Mile system had been financed, they would have found that nowhere in the statues does it allow the commissioners the powers to designate the Three Mile project as private — in fact, just the opposite.
In layman’s terms, the Three Mile group was “approached by BRID” with the proposal to put in an underground pipeline to improve the water distribution to the users, but the law states that only the irrigators using/getting the use of the pipe can be taxed, not the whole district.
I urge every member of the Three Mile Gravity System who has signed the petition for a sub-district to contact BRID and rescind your vote.