Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 2. Adjudication of Water Rights

Definition -- Filing Process -- Notice

85-2-222. Definition -- filing process -- notice. (1) As used in this section, "exempt right" means those claims for existing rights for livestock and individual uses as opposed to municipal domestic uses based upon instream flow or ground water sources and claims for rights in the Powder River basin included in a declaration filed pursuant to the order of the department or a district court issued under sections 8 and 9 of Chapter 452, Laws of 1973, or under sections 3 and 4 of Chapter 485, Laws of 1975. An exempt right is exempt from the filing requirements of 85-2-221(1).

(2) A person claiming an exempt right:

(a) may file with the department no later than June 30, 2019, a statement of claim for each water right asserted;

(b) shall submit information required by 85-2-224(1) and (2) on a form provided by the department; and

(c) shall pay the fees pursuant to 85-2-225.

(3) A claim of an exempt right constitutes prima facie proof of its content.

(4) The provisions of 85-2-233, 85-2-243, and 85-2-248, as well as supreme court examination rules, apply to any statement of claim of an exempt right filed under this section.

(5) Failure to file a claim for an exempt right under this section:

(a) does not result in the forfeiture of an existing water right; and

(b) subordinates the existing right to all other water rights except those exempt rights for which a claim has not been filed.

(6) Notice of the filing deadline provided in subsection (2) must be published by the department once a week for 2 consecutive weeks in a daily newspaper of general county circulation. The notice must be clearly posted in each county courthouse. The department shall send to the last-known address of each unique property owner a written notice of the filing deadline and a claim form at least once by July 1, 2017.

(7) The department may not accept any statements of claim submitted or postmarked after June 30, 2019. The department shall notify a person who files a claim after June 30, 2019, that the person's claim will not be accepted.

(8) All fees collected under this section must be deposited in the account established under 85-2-280.

History: En. Sec. 11, Ch. 697, L. 1979; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 323, L. 2013; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 338, L. 2017.