DNRC Launches New Website for Water Users, State Land Lessees

The Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) announced a new website to assist Montanans navigating the complex issue of water right ownership.

State trust land lessees and water users with questions regarding ownership of water rights used on state trust lands in Montana should visit WaterComplaint.mt.gov.

Since Gov. Gianforte took office, the DNRC has worked to respect the rights of private property owners and meet our constitutional responsibility to generate revenue to support public education,” DNRC director Amanda Kaster said. “This administration is committed to a new era of collaboration with landowners while also supporting our students.”

In 2019, the legislature passed House Bill 286 (HB 286), requiring the DNRC to remove its name as a co-owner on certain water rights previously claimed by the agency. When the law was challenged, the Gianforte administration defended the law in front of the Montana Supreme Court. As a result, DNRC has removed itself from numerous water rights and overhauled its approach to better assist Montanans, protect property rights, and meet its constitutional obligation to generate revenue to benefit Montana’s public schools.

State Trust Lands lessees who own or co-own a water right with the Montana State Board of Land Commissioners/Trust Land Management Division and have concerns regarding compliance with HB 286, MCA 85-2-441, may complete a form on this website. DNRC will review and respond to inquiries within 30 days, in the order in which requests are received.


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