House Endorses Bill Meant to Resolve Water Well Dispute

House Endorses Bill Meant to Resolve Water Well Dispute

Source: U.S. News
Click here to read the article: http://www.usnews.com/news/montana/articles/2017-02-13/house-endorses-bill-meant-to-resolve-water-well-dispute

By MATT VOLZ, Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana House has endorsed a measure that aims to settle a long-running dispute over the amount of water new residential developments may draw from areas with limited supplies.

The House voted 66-34 Monday in favor of a measure that would reverse a 2016 Montana Supreme Court ruling and allow multiple small wells to draw from the same water source without a permit.

The measure would set spacing requirements between those exempt wells. The bill aims to reduce the density of exempt wells in closed basins, which are areas where restrictions are in place to protect the water and its existing users.

Wells still would be exempt from permitting as long as they each draw less than 35 gallons of water per minute and 10 acre-feet per year. The bill still faces a third-reading vote.