Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 2. Adjudication of Water Rights

Examination Of Claims In Verified Basins

85-2-282. (Temporary) Examination of claims in verified basins. (1) At any time prior to the issuance of a final decree, in basins that were evaluated using the verification process rather than the examination process, the owners of water rights in the basin or a specified area in the basin may petition the water court to examine claims in the basin or an area in the basin pursuant to the supreme court rules.

(2) The owners of at least 15% of the number of water rights affected by the proposed reexamination shall sign the petition.

(3) At a minimum, the petition must provide:

(a) the specific water right purpose or water right purposes to be examined; and

(b) the elements to be examined.

(4) (a) The water judge shall evaluate each petition and determine if reexamination is necessary to provide greater accuracy to the adjudication.

(b) The water judge may request public comment on the petition.

(5) If the water judge determines reexamination should be conducted, the water judge shall issue an order that provides:

(a) what water right purpose or water right purposes must be examined by the department;

(b) the elements to be examined;

(c) final disposition of the reexamination information developed by the department; and

(d) the timeframe in which the reexamination must be completed.

(6) The water court may issue an order requiring reexamination on its own initiative. The order must provide the information contained in subsection (5).

(7) Upon receipt of the reexamination information from the department, the water court shall notify the users in the basin or the specified area in the basin identified in the petition of the final results of the reexamination and shall notify them regarding further steps or actions being taken as a result of the reexamination.

(8) Any actions taken as a result of the reexamination must be conducted in accordance with this part. (Terminates June 30, 2028--sec. 10, Ch. 269, L. 2015.)

History: En. Sec. 9, Ch. 288, L. 2005; amd. Sec. 8, Ch. 269, L. 2015.