Upon the Water Compact effective date (9/17/2021) notable changes in how water rights within the Flathead Reservation are governed took effect including the establishment of the Flathead Reservation Water Management Board and allowing all Reservation residents to register certain existing uses of waters that were in existence on the effective date of the Compact.

  • Tribal Members or allottees who wish to register an existing use as part of the Tribal Water Right have until September 17, 2026 (see 2-2-101 of the Ordinance).

To assist CSKT Tribal members and allottees in registering an existing use of the Tribal Water Right, CSKT has opened a Tribal Water Right Registration Office, located in Pablo at 36100 2nd Street East (formerly the Central Mail office).  Staff is available to answer questions about the Tribal Water Right registration process and assist in completing the Registration of Existing Uses form (REU-F), or call the office to receive a copy by mail.


Why did I get a letter about registering under the Tribal Water Right?

In December 2021, a Notice was sent to all CSKT tribal members (over the age of 18) to provide a brief summary of the Water Compact, CSKT Ordinance 111-A, and the Water Management Board.  As well as inform tribal members of the possibility of registering an existing use of water under the Tribal Water Right. 

What is the Tribal Water Right?

The Tribal Water Right is a combination of the yet-to-be registered “existing uses” by the CSKT, its members and allottees, and the CSKT water uses that are already accounted for in the Water Compact under Article III. The Tribal Water Right will be held in Trust by the United States.

What does “existing use” of the Tribal Water Right mean?

Existing uses are uses of water by CSKT Tribal members or allottees that:

  • existed before 9/17/2021,
  • on land located within the Flathead Reservation, and
  • are not simultaneously registered with the DNRC as a state-based water right.

What types of use can registered as an existing use of the Tribal Water Right?

Eligible uses of water include (but are not limited to) domestic wells, stock water, irrigation, commercial, industrial and municipal purposes, as well as historically irrigated allotments held in Trust that are not served by the Flathead Indian Irrigation Project.

Still have questions? 

Call our office at (406) 675-2700 extension 1161 or visit us at 36100 2nd Street East in Pablo (formerly Central Mail).

To look up whether or not you may already have a state-based water right on file with DNRC, visit the DNRC Water Rights Query System