Senator Steve Daines’ bill that would move Montana water projects forward and ensure the completion of authorized projects across Montana recently received its first hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

“From the crops and grazing fields of our state’s agriculture providers, water is our most valuable resource,” Daines stated. “Our farmers, ranchers and families deserve access to a reliable water source.”

The Western Water Supply and Planning Enhancement Act would help improve the efficiency of existing water supply infrastructure, ease the regulatory burden on new projects, and protect water rights that are critical to the prosperity of the Western United States.

The bill also accelerates implementation of Montana-made forest management projects that enhance watersheds and reduce the risk of wildfires. This is critical for Montana as there are approximately 1,393 watersheds encompassed by at least 25 percent of National Forest lands in the state.

Daines stressed the damaging impacts of litigation against forest health projects, highlighting a court injunction that has stopped work on the collaboratively-developed Bozeman Municipal Watershed project.