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MT Forum: Water May be the State’s New “Gold”

March 29, 2010

GREAT FALLS, Mont. - Water is a resource of rising value in Montana, whether it flows in major rivers, underground springs or ditches - and the complications of ownership and legal responsibilities are up for discussion today in Great Falls.

Chris Christiaens, project specialist for the Montana Farmers Union, helped organize the day-long water forum in recognition of modern-day water issues.

"Montana's water, over the next few years, will become the new gold-standard as the value of our water continues to go up."

Christiaens says research will be presented to help guide those who hold water rights, many of whom have been asked to sell those rights.

"What is the value of some water rights that you, or I, may hold, and are we willing to sell it to the highest bidder?"

Demands on state water include agriculture, development and wildlife, she adds. State, federal and private experts will be making presentations, along with state legislators.

The forum is at the Montana Electric Cooperatives' Association conference room, at 501 Bay Drive, Great Falls.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - MT