A special working group meant to untangle issues related to the state water rights database will meet March 2 for its first meeting.

The Water Policy Interim Committee formed the working group to look into the use of geocodes, as a record of a water right's place of use. The working group may also look at other aspects of the state water rights database to ensure its accuracy. The database serves as the centralized repository for Montana's approximately 250,000 claims to use water.

The working group includes all members of WPIC, and the following: James Ferch, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation; Bill Gowen, Jr., Montana Land Title Association; Evan Hammer, Natural Resources Information Service; Kory Hofland, Department of Revenue; Hon. Russ McElyea, Montana Water Court; Regina Plettenberg, Montana Association of Clerks and Recorders; Shantil Siaperas, Montana Association of Counties; and Liane Taylor, Montana Association of Realtors. 

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 http://leg.mt.gov 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:  leg.mt.gov/water

Committee Staff:  jasonmohr@mt.gov or 406-444-1640

The Legislative News.