Monday, July 28, 2008

"Historic Water Rights May Go Downstream"

Taken from the CCE website: (click on "breaking news")

Press Release (7/27/08)

Great Falls Historic Water Rights May Go Downstream

• Why is it that the City is willing to litigate to prevent it’s citizens from seeing public documents but refuses to even consider using legal means to protect it’s historic water rights?

• Billings is planning on defending 400,000 acre-ft per year of water rights. The City of Great Falls is embarrassed to defend an 1889 53,000 acre-ft/yr water right. Billings is defending a water right over seven times as large as Great Falls, but its population is only twice as large.

• City documents show Great Falls pumped between 48 million and 55 million gallons of water per day in the sixties. This fact along with the incremental growth of water use in Great Falls is very important data the Water Court could review to determine if Great Falls can keep it’s historical water right of 53,000 acre-ft/yr (about 59 million gallons/day).

• The City’s consultant recommended the City reduce it’s water rights from 53,000 acre-ft/yr to 20,000 acre-ft/yr, a 62% reduction of our historic 1889 water rights, and then offered to help the City purchase other water rights for about $7.5 million dollars over the next ten years . . . Does this make any sense for the taxpayers of Great Falls?

• This past week members of CCE/MEIC have been given access to certain public documents and records. That has lead to the finding of other record trails that may support keeping our water rights at the historic volume. We just need more time to follow the evidence through to a supportive conclusion. Is that too much to ask, a simple letter from city hall could possibly save future citizens millions of dollars and grief over water issues!

• Grab a pencil. Please ask the Mayor, City Manager and City Commissioners tomorrow to apply for a 90-day extension of the August 4th water rights deadline. This extension will protect our historic water rights and give time for additional research to prove up the rights. This may be the LAST CHANCE we have!

Mayor Stebbins phone number is 761-4108.
City Manager, Greg Doyon can be reached at 455-8450 or leave a message there for the Commissioners.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yep, SOLD down the river by Lawton...somebody in city hall do something!