A Canal That Opened the Montana Prairie May Soon Dry Up

A Canal That Opened the Montana Prairie May Soon Dry Up

News Type: State, Regional, Federal Source: The New York Times
Click here to read the article: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/14/us/montana-water-milk-river.html

CUT BANK, Mont. — A century ago, one of the first of the ambitious federal water projects that helped build the West was constructed to carry water from the mountains of Glacier National Park hundreds of miles east, irrigating an area twice the size of Maryland.

The well-traveled water allows alfalfa, wheat and cattle farms to flourish in what would otherwise be an arid landscape of prairie grass and sagebrush.

Last month, however, a crumbling concrete portion of the antiquated ditch system known as the St. Mary Canal collapsed, cutting off the flow of mountain water to farms and towns in a portion of Canada and much of eastern Montana. As the heat of summer looms, water users are worried.