We and most of our neighbors on the Flathead Indian Reservation support the CSKT compact. It protects our state-based water claims, it provides certainty that we will have water to continue farming, it provides money to improve the aging infrastructure of our water project, it makes 90,000 acre feet of water out of Hungry Horse available to the state of Montana and it gives the state a say in development of water on the Flathead Indian Reservation (something no other tribal compact in the state does). It give us a certain future. Litigating all tribal claims through water court guarantees us nothing.
A person who recently wrote a letter about the compact stated that most water basins in the state have recently published a “final adjudication.” If you go to the DNRC website you will see that only six have a final decree. Half of the basins are going through the decree process for the second time, in part because of the many finalized water compacts across the state. There are 85 water basins in the state of Montana. Over 50 will not have final decrees until the CSKT tribe’s water claims are either satisfied by the CSKT water compact or are litigated through the water court.
If you want to compare the difference, type in “Comparison: Adjudication of CSKT Claims vs. CSKT-MT Compact Rights.” This researched document has been prepared by the water resources division of the DNRC.
It is concerning that those who do not support the CSKT compact continue to downplay the risks of going to water court absent a CKST compact. We farm 1,000 acres on the Flathead Indian Reservation. We want to keep farming. We support the CSKT compact.
— Susan Lake, Ronan