Missoula’s Water Fight

Montana glacier national park water, by pixabay user dbmcnicol, licensed by Creative Commons.

Ending Missoula’s drinking problem

In the Intermountain West, water law follows the Doctrine of Prior Application, which means “First in Time, First in Right.” This doctrine has led to stiff competition for water usage, and water ownership is highly coveted. For years, water flowing through the town of Missoula, MT has been owned by Liberty Utilities. But now, after years of fighting for ownership of its water supply, Missoula is finally winning. A settlement agreement was recently approved by town council members, setting the stage for a transfer of ownership on June 22. With a successful transfer, Missoula will become the last town in Montana to own its own water system. Read more