MTPR

water

3,000 people might run out of water this summer on the Rocky Boy’s Reservation, but a bipartisan bill moving through U.S. Congress could bring some much-needed relief.

Montana drought status by county, May 1, 2017.
Montana DNRC

Drought is not expected to be a major factor this year in Montana.

Here’s something Montanans don’t frequently hear this time of year:

“It’s very unusual for most of Montana to be as wet as it is at this point," says National Weather Service Meteorologist Bruce Bauck.

Western Montana sub-basin snow water equivalent.
USDA NRCS

Most of Montana’s high elevation snowpack is looking good. Montana entered April on relatively steady footing when it comes to our snowpack levels. The latest water supply outlook from the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Bozeman notes new snowfall bolstered snowpack during March’s first two weeks.

More than a dozen Fort Peck tribal members and veterans plan to traverse nearly 100 miles across the reservation to raise awareness about the potential dangers of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Courtesy Marina Starr

Hours before the Trump administration issued permits to resurrect the Keystone XL pipeline Friday morning a group on the Fort Peck Reservation in northeastern Montana set out on a prayer walk to protest the pipeline.

Crews in Whitefish dig at the site where the city water main burst Monday morning on Baker Avenue.
Nicky Ouellet

Crews in Whitefish have already fixed a water main burst that left many homes and businesses without water Monday morning, but public works managers say road repairs will likely last into summer.

A leaky gasket, paired with a freeze-thaw pattern Sunday night, caused the burst, which Whitefish Public Works Director Craig Workman called "catastrophic."

Crews in Whitefish dig at the site where the city water main burst Monday morning on Baker Avenue.
Nicky Ouellet

A burst to the city's water main in Whitefish early Monday morning left much of the city without water for parts of the day. Crews worked quickly to isolate the rupture and restore water pressure to the system, but local businesses took a hit.

Crews in Whitefish dig at the site where the city water main burst Monday morning on Baker Avenue.
Nicky Ouellet

Fifty homes are still without water after a catastrophic burst to the City of Whitefish's water main this morning. Parts of Baker Avenue south of downtown remain closed after crews dug up the street to isolate the leak.

Why You Should Drink More Water: Dr. Starbuck Explains

Feb 23, 2017
Seattle Municipal Archives

Hi!  I’m Dr. Jamison Starbuck, a naturopathic family physician with health tips about water.

Maybe you’ve heard your doctors or parents or teachers say, "you need to drink more water." And while this is probably a very good idea, I think a lot of kids want to know why, why should I drink more water? And how much water is enough?

If you’re one of those kids, here are the answers to your questions:

Senate Bill 215 would establish more rigorous permitting requirements for bottling plants that bottle at least 100 acre feet of water each year.
(PD)

Legislators will soon hear a bill that seeks to treat water bottling facilities with the same environmental scrutiny as other major factories and plants. Senate Bill 215 would establish more rigorous permitting requirements for bottling plants that bottle at least 100 acre feet of water each year.

Seal of the Chippewa Cree Tribes
Josh Burnham

Authorities say it is now safe for people living on the Rocky Boy's Reservation to drink their tap water again. The Environmental Protection Agency lifted a boil order today.

Members of Water For Flathead's Future watch a documentary on water bottling at a potluck Wednesday night.
Nicky Ouellet

If water is becoming the new oil, the Flathead Valley could become the new Bakken. That’s what many people fear since news of a proposed water bottling plant outside of Kalispell broke earlier this spring.

Last week, Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality hosted a public meeting to take comments on one aspect of the proposed facility. Comments are due this coming Monday.

How Tall Can A Tree Grow?

Oct 8, 2015
How tall can a tree grow?
(PD)

Have you ever driven across Montana and noticed that the farther west you go, the bigger the trees get? In fact, if you kept on driving all the way to Seattle, you’d notice that the trees there are even bigger than those in western Montana.

10/11/2015 - Reveal for October - We go on the hunt for super water wasters in rain-starved California. The governor’s asked people to conserve, but some homes are using millions of gallons of water a year. Who are these water bingers? And why are they allowed to keep their yards green while California burns?? We’ll investigate -- next time on Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX.

https://beta.prx.org/stories/160335

Kids And Salmon At The Wildlife Film Festival

Apr 16, 2015
Chérie Newman

The Flying Whales, a group of Kindergarten students at Sussex Elementary in Missoula, are getting ready for the WildWalk Parade, one of the upcoming Wildlife Film Festival activities. In a classroom filled with maps, children’s artwork, stuffed animals, and live birds, the kids try their costumes on and talk about the WildWalk Parade.

Sen. Brown: Reduce Road Salt

Feb 23, 2015
MT Department of Transportation

On Tuesday, Montana lawmakers will hear a bill that would reduce the amount of salty road de-icers used on streets and roads. 

A 2010 United States Geological Survey  report found that winter runoff can push significant amounts of the de-icer into streams, increasing their toxicity for fish and other aquatic life.

Republican Senator Dee Brown of Hungry Horse is carrying Senate Bill 369 and says it’s necessary to keep Montana water clear.

A 12-inch diameter steel pipe carrying Baaken crude oil broke where it crosses the Yellowstone River six miles upstream from Glendive, Montana Saturday.

An estimated 40,000 gallons of oil entered the river, and caused the shutdown of Glendive's drinking water plant. 

    

A new group of farmers, ranchers, and tribal members want to convince Montana lawmakers to pass a water compact, like the one they rejected two years ago.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are the only Montana Native Americans who lack a compact with the state governing water rights. In 2013, the legislature rejected it, after objections from property rights groups. The group supporting the new compact includes Scott Reichner of Bigfork, an outgoing state lawmaker who voted against the last version.

08/07/2014 -Americans, and especially Californians, have had a big dose of severe drought this year. Though it hit the state hard, farmers were the most effected. They continue to worry about the threat the water shortage poses to their multi-million dollar almond, kiwi and walnut crops. The answer has been to irrigate crops with water that is pumped up from underground stores. The problem is that so many farmers are digging so fast and pumping so much water, that the aquifer levels are in danger of depletion. That puts the agriculture industry ultimately at risk.

Well, it looks like the Forest Service has done it to themselves again.  By this I mean the recent Federal Register notice announcing the agency is undertaking the writing of national Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Water Quality Protection on National Forest System lands.

Missoula and the southern California town of Apple Valley are separated by over 11-hundred miles, but both have at least one thing in common; officials from both towns want their local water systems under public ownership.

Leaders from both communities met earlier this week in Missoula to discuss ways to do just that.

Apple Valley's water system is owned and operated by Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company. In Missoula, it's Mountain Water Company.