The Water Policy Interim Committee meets Jan. 6-7 with an eye on creating a subcommittee to discuss an ongoing water rights records issue.

The committee will convene at 9 a.m. Jan. 6 in room 172 of the Capitol building. WPIC will continue its studies of the future of the Water Court (House Joint Resolution 14), weather modification (HJ40), and climate and water rights.

The constitutionality of a permanent Water Court, other states’ water courts, and input from the Montana Water Bar are expected to highlight the committee’s work on HJ14. Discussion on the future of the Water Court study begins the morning of Jan. 7.

WPIC has heard significant testimony related to the water rights database of the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, specifically related to the use of geocodes.  After two conference calls over the past two months, the committee will again weigh input on this issue. Some have said the use of geocodes is complicating court proceedings, land sales, property improvements, and use of water.

The WPIC is led by Rep. Zach Brown, D-Bozeman, chairman, and Sen. Jeffrey Welborn, R-Dillon, vice-chairman. Other members of the committee are   Sen. Jill Cohenour (D-E. Helena), Sen. Bruce “Butch” Gillespie (R-Ethridge), Sen. Jon Sesso (D-Butte), Rep. Bob Brown (R-Thompson Falls), Rep. Carl Glimm (R-Kila), Rep. Bradley Maxon Hamlett (D-Cascade), Rep. Shane Morigeau (D-Missoula), and Rep. Walt Sales (R-Manhattan).

The meeting will be livestreamed at and will be broadcast on the Montana Public Affairs Network (MPAN). For more information on the committee’s activities and upcoming meeting, including a full agenda, please visit the committee’s website or contact Jason Mohr, committee staff.

Committee Website:

Committee Staff: or 406-444-1640

The Legislative News.