CSKT Water Compact Explained
Comparison: Adjudication of CSKT Claims
vs. CSKT-MT Compact Rights (updated 2-15-19)
This overview is provided by DNRC. For more information visit the DNRC Website.
As of July 2018, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT or Tribes) and United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) have filed 10,109 claims in place of the Compact. These claims, filed as placeholders to the Compact, are currently stayed before the Montana Water Court. If the Compact is approved by the U.S. Congress, the Tribes, and the Water Court, both sets of claims will be dismissed. If the Compact is not approved, both sets of claims will be adjudicated through the Montana Water Court. Without Compact – Total Claims to be Adjudicated Absent the Compact – 10,109. The CSKT filed 1,720 on-Reservation water claims. They also filed 1,094 off-Reservation instream water claims, all with time immemorial priority dates. The off-Reservation claims are located in 51 of Montana’s 85 adjudicationbasins. The USDOJ also filed 7,295 total claims in trust for the CSKT including 1,094 off-Reservation instream claims that are identical to those filed by CSKT. All 10,109 claims would need to be adjudicated in the absence of the Compact.
With Compact – CSKT-MT Compact Rights – 308
The Compact grants the Tribes’ 211 on-Reservation water rights, 10 off-reservation rights, and co-ownership in 87 existing instream flow, in-lake, and storage rights held by the Montana Dept. of Fish Wildlife & Parks (DFWP) which comes to 308 total rights. The 211 on-Reservation water rights quantify the Tribes’ rights including: instream flows, Hungry Horse Reservoir Water, high mountain lakes, wetlands, and Flathead Indian Irrigation Project (FIIP) water. The Compact also includes an administrative process to grant over 1,000 non-tribal on-Reservation groundwater certificates left in limbo by the absence of a regulatory framework on the Reservation.
Off-Reservation water rights granted to the Tribes include:
• Eight time immemorial instream rights on the Swan River, Kootenai River, Lower Clark Fork River, and five
headwater streams, all with protections for existing water users;
• One time immemorial Flathead Lake water right that protects the natural lake level; and
• One 1855, any purpose, on- and off-reservation right that includes 11,000 acre-feet (AF) of Hungry Horse Reserv