Travis Kavulla, vice chairman of the Montana Public Service Commission, gives readers of the Wall Street Journal a good, straightforward explanation of the comprehensive water compact with the Salish and Kootenai tribes in northwestern Montana.
I can’t pretend to understand all the ins and outs of the voluminous, complex compact, but Kavulla makes a good case that it makes the best of a very difficult situation. Here’s a key part of his piece:
Even as whites resisted quantifying water use, the Salish and Kootenai tribal government hired a small army of hydrologists to measure theirs and anthropologists to document the historic range of their people. Since the 1980s, they have been compiling a meticulous record, preparing for the day when they would have to prove their claims in court.
With the compact, that water war doesn’t need to be fought, saysHertha Lund, an attorney representing large irrigators on the reservation.
The whole thing is worth reading.