85-2-234. Final decree. (1) The water judge shall, on the basis of the preliminary decree, on the basis of any hearing that may have been held, and on final resolution of all issue remarks, as defined in 85-2-250, enter a final decree affirming or modifying the preliminary decree.
(2) The terms of a compact negotiated and ratified under 85-2-702 must be included in the final decree without alteration unless an objection is sustained pursuant to 85-2-233. However, the court may not alter or amend any of the terms of a compact except with the prior written consent of the parties in accordance with applicable law.
(3) The final decree must establish the existing rights and priorities within the water judge's jurisdiction of persons who have filed a claim in accordance with 85-2-221, of persons required to file a declaration of existing rights in the Powder River basin pursuant to an order of the department or a district court issued under sections 8 and 9 of Chapter 452, Laws of 1973, of any judicial determinations made pursuant to 85-2-222, and of any federal agency or Indian tribe possessing water rights arising under federal law, required by 85-2-702 to file claims.
(4) The final decree must establish, in a form determined to be appropriate by the water judge, one or more tabulations or lists of all water rights and their relative priorities.
(5) The final decree must state the findings of fact, along with any conclusions of law, upon which the existing rights and priorities of each person, federal agency, and Indian tribe named in the decree are based.
(6) For each person who is found to have an existing right arising under the laws of the state of Montana, the final decree must state:
(a) the name and post-office address of the owner of the right;
(b) the amount of water included in the right, as follows:
(i) by flow rate for direct flow rights, such as irrigation rights;
(ii) by volume for rights, such as stockpond and reservoir storage rights, and for rights that are not susceptible to measurement by flow rate; or
(iii) by flow rate and volume for rights that a water judge determines require both volume and flow rate to adequately administer the right;
(c) the date of priority of the right;
(d) the purpose for which the water included in the right is used;
(e) the place of use and a description of the land, if any, to which the right is appurtenant;
(f) the source of the water included in the right;
(g) the place and means of diversion;
(h) the inclusive dates during which the water is used each year;
(i) any other information necessary to fully define the nature and extent of the right.
(7) For each person, tribe, or federal agency possessing water rights arising under the laws of the United States, the final decree must state:
(a) the name and mailing address of the holder of the right;
(b) the source or sources of water included in the right;
(c) the quantity of water included in the right;
(d) the date of priority of the right;
(e) the purpose for which the water included in the right is currently used, if at all;
(f) the place of use and a description of the land, if any, to which the right is appurtenant;
(g) the place and means of diversion, if any; and
(h) any other information necessary to fully define the nature and extent of the right, including the terms of any compacts negotiated and ratified under 85-2-702.
(8) Clerical mistakes in a final decree may be corrected at any time on the initiative of the water judge or on the petition of any person who possesses a water right. The water judge shall order the notice of a correction proceeding that the judge determines to be appropriate to advise all persons who may be affected by the correction. An order of the water judge making or denying a clerical correction is subject to appellate review.
History: En. Sec. 24, Ch. 697, L. 1979; amd. Sec. 5, Ch. 667, L. 1985; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 438, L. 1987; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 426, L. 1989; amd. Sec. 7, Ch. 629, L. 1993; amd. Sec. 7, Ch. 526, L. 2005; amd. Sec. 2760, Ch. 56, L. 2009; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 323, L. 2013.