Irrigation District can now work with FIIP once again

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The Bureau of Indian Affairs finally has begun to fill important Flathead Indian Irrigation Project (FIIP) senior positions, and manager Pete Plant now is able to devote all of his time to FIIP.

This provides an opportunity for the Flathead Irrigation District (FID) to re-establish the working relationship with FIIP that was lost during recent years of FJBC litigation and a short-staffed FIIP. At a minimum, FID commissioners and FIIP management should reestablish regular discussions covering FIIP budget priorities and future O&M assessment plans.

FID also could provide FIIP information concerning irrigator problems and discuss with FIIP possible remedies. But this would require FID to establish a regular way of listening to irrigators and a way of following up on complaints to see if they are being resolved.

One avenue to explore would be an irrigator board modeled after Mission Valley Power’s Consumer Council. Among other activities, MVP Consumer Council “serves as a liaison between customers and utility staff regarding either complaints or praise.”

— Dick Erb, Moiese

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