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DNRC Headquarters
1539 Eleventh Ave. Helena, MT 59601
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Water Rights Bureau

Montanans are connecting over the preciousness of water as never before. Their message: There’s no time like the present to prepare for our future.

Search for a water right with our Water Right Query System


What is a Water Right?

A water right allows you to legally use water in a prescribed manner, but not to own the water itself. Without diversion and beneficial use, there is no water right.  Water rights in Montana are basically broken down into two groups. 

  • Water rights that were established prior to July 1,1973 are administered by the Adjudication Bureau.
  • Water rights that were established from July 1, 1973 through the present are administered by the New Appropriations Program.


What Does The Water Rights Bureau Do?

The Water Rights Bureau administers the following:


Water Right Search

Following are some tools and resources to aid you in your search for water rights information


Water Right Application Information


Water Right Ownership Updates


Water Right Forms

Who should I contact?

The Water Resources Regional Offices are here to help! Please contact your local office for assistance.

Billings: (406) 247-4415
Bozeman: (406) 586-3136
Glasgow: (406) 228-2561
Havre: (406) 265-5516
Helena: (406) 444-6999
Kalispell: (406) 752-2288
Lewistown: (406) 538-7459
Missoula: (406) 721-4284

For additional assistance, please contact the Water Rights Bureau/Central Office.

Water Rights Bureau/Central Office
1424 9th Avenue
PO Box 201601
Helena, MT 59620-1601

Phone (406) 444-6610
Fax (406) 444-0533

Bureau Chief
(406) 444-0581

Jim Ferch
Program Manager
(406) 752-2735

Program Specialist
(406) 444-1451

Program Specialist
(406) 444-6679

Compliance Technician
(406) 444-6671

Compliance Technician
(406) 444-6614

Compliance Technician
(406) 444-9731

Compliance Technician
(406) 444-0508