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DNRC Headquarters
1539 Eleventh Ave. Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 444-2074 | Fax: (406) 444-2684
Questions? Email us

Painted Rocks Reservoir

Painted Rocks 2.jpg

Reservoir Operations

The operation of Painted Rocks Reservoir involves three main parties: DNRC, the Painted Rocks Water Users Association (PRWUA), and the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP). Painted Rocks Reservoir stores approximately 32,362 acre-ft (ac-ft) of water, with 25,000 ac-ft marketed to the FWP and PRWUA. In addition, the Bitterroot River Water Commissioner manages the river to insure the apportionment and diversion of decree and contract waters.

DNRC owns the dam and the reservoir area. It is DNRC’s responsibility to insure that the reservoir is filled and operated safely and that water is available for delivery to the contract holders when it is called for.

The shares marketed to the PRWUA (10,000 ac-ft or 2/5th) is primarily used for agricultural purposes. This water can only be released when called for by the PRWUA. If you have any questions regarding the releases of contract irrigation water, please contact the PRWUA.
The shares marketed to FWP (15,000 ac-ft or 3/5ths) are used for in-stream flows. This water is released when called for by the FWP. If you have questions regarding the releases of contract fisheries water, please contact the FWP. The local FWP contact in the Bitterroot Valley is Chris Clancy (406-363-7169).

Date Last Updated:


Reservoir Elevation (FT_MSL)


Current Storage (ac-ft)


Inflows to Painted Rocks

Stream Name

Flow Rate (cfs)

Blue Joint Creek


West Fork Bitterroot River


Overwich Creek


Slate Stage


Little Boulder Creek


Total Inflow

100.2 cfs

Outflows from Painted Rocks Reservoir

USGS Gauge (ft)


Outflow before gate adjustment (cfs)


Outflow after gate adjustment (cfs)       


Water Contracts


Current Flow


Previous Flow Rate


Volume Delivered   Since Last Report (ac-ft)

Volume Delivered to Date (ac-ft)

Volume Remaining   (ac-ft)


Days Remaining at Current Flow

Irrigation   Contracts

(10,000 ac-ft)







In-Stream Fisheries   Contracts

(15,000 ac-ft)








All Contract water has been delivered.

(11/9/2017) Some construction activity will be taking place immediately below Painted Rock Dam November 15-18. This work is part of an ongoing feasibility study for the eventual rehabilitation of the dam. The construction activity will mainly be centered around the boat launch immediately below the dam and the SW area across the river, up to the toe of the dam.

Painted Rocks Dam outflow information
The USGS gage link information for the gage immediately below the dam:  This site has flows that are recorded/displayed every 15 minutes and can be assessed by anyone at any time. Therefore it will give you the most up to date outflow information available for Painted Rocks Dam.



Water Projects Bureau
1424 9th Ave
Helena, MT 59620-1601
(406) 444-6646

Missoula Office
(406) 721-4284

PRWUA Directory