As we've seen in recent weeks, numerous stakeholder groups that depend heavily on water resources have announced their support of the water compact, and it passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with strong bipartisan support.
Thanks to the educational efforts of the compact bill sponsor, Sen. Chas Vincent, who went the extra mile make the compact and related documents and guides easily accessible to the public and his legislative colleagues, Montanans are one step closer to water rights certainty and avoiding the decades of litigation that failing to pass the compact would cause.
The 8-4 vote in favor of the compact shows that when folks take the time to really look into the substance of the bill, as those who voted for it did, that it is an agreement that is beneficial for all Montanans. Not only will the compact make our state stronger, but it will protect existing water rights and ensure water at levels of historic consumptive use for water users across Montana.
Without the compact, Montanans would have to foot the bill for millions of dollars in court costs. Not only would individual farmers, ranchers, irrigators and water users have to shoulder the litigation costs – so too would all the taxpayers in Montana
I commend Vincent for his relentless dedication to ensuring that our water resources are protected for future generations and that the hard-earned dollars of Montanans aren't wasted on unnecessary and avoidable litigation.