When the Blackfeet Nation of Montana last year approved a water rights compact with the federal government that had taken more than three decades to negotiate, it was only the beginning. The deal quantifies the tribe’s water rights for the first time and provides for more than $470 million in state and federal funding for water projects and related initiatives, but securing that money will involve further negotiations that are likely to be slow going.
This issue of Western Water discusses the challenges facing the Colorado River Basin resulting from persistent drought, climate change and an overallocated river, and how water managers and others are trying to face the future.
“The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday weighed in to support the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in its lawsuit against two water districts, backing the tribe’s claims that the local agencies are infringing upon its rights by over-pumping groundwater from the Coachella Valley’s aquifer.”
“Some southern Oregon ranchers will have to reduce or completely shut down irrigation in the parched Upper Klamath Basin this summer as a result of a historic assertion of water rights by other users in the region.
On Monday, several groups, including the Klamath Tribes and irrigators in the federal Klamath Project, made formal calls for water, asking Oregon to enforce rights they won earlier this year.”