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Water Policy Interim Committee May Update

Posted Date: 
May 1, 2012
Joe Kolman, Committee Staff

The Water Policy Interim Committee takes to the road in June to gather public comment on proposals dealing with water wells exempt from permitting.

The committee canceled its May meeting in Helena in favor of June meetings in Bozeman, Kalispell, and Hamilton. Those areas experienced an influx of exempt wells in recent years. That activity, along with proposals to revise the law and administrative rules, prompted the 2011 Legislature to require the WPIC to study exempt wells (House Bill 602). The committee shall provide a report to the 2013 Legislature "that provides clear policy direction and necessary legislation to guide Montana's policy" on exempt wells.

An exempt well is a water well that pumps at a rate of less than 35 gallons per minute and produces less than 10 acre feet of water a year. An exempt well does not require a permit prior to drilling. It is estimated that a home with an acre of lawn uses less than 2.5 acre-feet a year. (An acre foot is equivalent to a foot of water covering a football field).

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Joe Kolman | | 406-444-3747