If federal reserved water rights for an Indian reservation are based on the “purpose of the reservation” and the purpose was to convert a nomadic tribe to an agrarian culture with an Ag school, how exactly does that give that tribe the audacity to claim rights to all the water in western Montana for fishies, instead of crops, 157 years later?
If their treaty with the Feds states that they can fish and hunt, in common with the citizens of the territory (off the reservation), how does that grant this small tribe control of major waters throughout the state and co-ownership of state controlled (FWP) management of state waters?
Why would the irrigation districts in the Bitterroot (who have contractual use of 10,000 ac-ft in Painted Rock Reservoir) and the Ravalli county commissioners, welcome tribal co-ownership with FWP (for the 15,000 ac-ft of water managed by FWP)? What benefit does the CSKT bring to that group of irrigators? It’s one thing to say that the irrigators “contracted water” is untouched by the current Federal Water Compact proposal, but to put their seal of approval on a deal that adds another entity to their own often contentious relationship with the FWP reveals no clarity of purpose. The irrigation districts believe it is okay to submarine their irrigation neighbors and friends to the north, by supporting a deal that they believe affects them not, but why would they add another “partner” to their own situation without some form of compensation or remuneration? Why would they rather argue with two co-partner entities instead of just one?! Double-trouble.
It makes absolutely no sense to me, on the surface. There must be something running under the surface. Why don’t you all ask them?

Advertisements