85-2-708. Water administration interim agreements within Indian reservations. (1) Because it appears to be to the common advantage of the state and Indian tribes to cooperate in matters involving the permitting and use of water within the exterior boundaries of an Indian reservation prior to the final adjudication of Indian reserved water rights and because the state does not intend by enactment of this section to limit, expand, alter, or waive state jurisdiction to administer water rights within the exterior boundaries of an Indian reservation, pursuant to the requirements of Title 18, chapter 11, the department may negotiate and conclude an interim agreement with the tribal government of any Indian tribe in Montana prior to final adjudication of Indian reserved water rights for the purpose of implementing a water administration plan and a permitting process for the issuance of water rights and changes in water right uses within the exterior boundaries of an Indian reservation.
(2) An agreement entered into pursuant to subsection (1) must:
(a) provide for the retention of exclusive authority by the state to issue permits to applicants who are not members of the tribe and to issue change of use authorizations;
(b) provide that any permits must be issued in accordance with the criteria established by state law; and
(c) provide that permits may be only for new uses with a date of priority in compliance with state law.
(3) Prior to concluding any agreement under this section, the department shall hold public meetings, after proper public notice of the meetings has been given and the proposed agreement has been made available for public review, to afford the public an opportunity to comment on the contents of the agreement.
History: En. Sec. 19, Ch. 497, L. 1997.