The Flathead Lakers’ case challenging the water right permit for the proposed water bottling plant near Creston was heard in District Court in Helena in late November. We now wait for the decision by Judge Kathy Seeley.
It was three years ago that we learned of the proposed project at Egan Slough, near the Flathead River just upstream from the lake. The permit would give the company the right to 710 acre-feet of groundwater to fill 1.2 billion 20-ounce water bottles per year. Our case addresses the law that requires a higher standard of evidence and additional review criteria to secure a water right for shipping water out of state.
A main reason for our concern is the precedent this permit could set. It would allow a large water bottling company to secure a permanent right to water held in trust by the state for the people of Montana without critical review of all impacts.
Our Flathead waters are precious. The Flathead Lakers take a long view in our work to protect our connected waters and all they sustain.