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Case Summary Citation

2013 MT 48, 369 Mont. 150, 296 P.3d 1154

Abstract

The Montana Supreme Court upheld the law requiring that applicants for new ground water permits in closed basins show no net surface depletion and that the new appropriation will not adversely affect senior water appropriators. Where the relationship between surface and ground water is uncertain or attenuated, applicants still bear the burden of proof, even if the proposed use constitutes only a de minimis quantity. Once again, the Court acknowledged the hydrologic connection between surface and ground water and the underlying legal framework which seeks to make water available for new appropriation and simultaneously protect the water rights of senior appropriators through the prior appropriation doctrine.

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