85-2-701. Legislative intent. (1) Because the water and water rights within each water division are interrelated, it is the intent of the legislature to conduct unified proceedings for the general adjudication of existing water rights under the Montana Water Use Act. It is the intent of the legislature that the unified proceedings include all claimants of reserved Indian water rights as necessary and indispensable parties under authority granted the state by 43 U.S.C. 666. However, it is further intended that the state of Montana proceed under the provisions of this part in an effort to conclude compacts for the equitable division and apportionment of waters between the state and its people and the several Indian tribes claiming reserved water rights within the state.
(2) To the maximum extent possible, the reserved water rights compact commission established under 2-15-212 should make the negotiation of water rights claimed by the federal government or Indian tribes in or affecting the basins identified by 85-2-218 its highest priority. In negotiations, the commission is acting on behalf of the governor.