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Montana REALTORS Oppose Well Permit Ruling

By HOM Editorial Team
March 2017

The Montana Supreme Court recently upheld a water well permit ruling that could have serious consequences for state residents. Montana water use law requires permits to be obtained for all interconnected, water wells. Prior to the ruling, small, stand-alone wells that drew less than 35 gallons a minute and 10 acre-feet a year were able to bypass this permitting process.

This meant that developers, homeowners and farmers were able to install small, independent wells without going through an intensive permitting process. However, the court’s ruling reverts everything and forces landowners to go through a time consuming and outdated approval system in order to install a new well on their property.

Some conservationist are in support of this ruling because they have concerns that the increase in small wells will eventually create a reduction in groundwater levels and surface water flow. However, The Montana Association of REALTORS (MAR) disagrees and feels that upholding this ruling does a disservice to Montana residents.

“Exempt wells have served Montanans for years and the detailed scientific studies conducted determined that these exempt wells have virtually no impact on groundwater and stream flows,” MAR association CEO Taylor Oldroyd said.

The association is also concerned that the ruling will force new home developers to build subdivisions that are a great distance from each other. Creating an unwelcome sprawl that takes away from the beauty of Montana’s landscape.

Oldroyd shares that MAR will continue to work closely with their coalition partners in order to pass a new exempt water bill. One that will minimize regulations and support the historic well use that has served Montana developers and homeowners all these years.

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