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DNRC Headquarters
1539 Eleventh Ave. Helena, MT 59601
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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


74.5 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 to Date

Volume Remaining

Days Remaining at Current Flow

Irrigation   Contracts







In-Stream Fisheries   Contracts









There will be some maintenance work activities that will be happening at the dam starting as early as this Friday, September 13th. The work is minor however, there will be equipment operating on the road and everyone needs to be aware of it for traffic safety concerns.

We will be repairing some minor erosion rills, on the upper portion of the upstream embankment, that have be caused by drainage off of the Blue Joint Road. This work on the north side of the dam is expected to begin on Friday, 9/13. The work should only take a day or two, however there will be equipment on the Blue Joint Road, so if you are traveling up in the area please keep an eye out for it.

We will be performing some minor concrete maintenance on the upper portion of the spillway floor on the south end of the dam, where Blue Joint Road crosses over the spillway. This work is expected to begin the week of 9/16 and last about a week.  Therefore, there will be numerous vehicles and equipment parked near the gatehouse and workers present on the roadway at times. Please keep an eye out for them too.

Fisheries water contract deliveries are dictated by the MT FWP and irrigation water contract deliveries are dictated by the Painted Rocks Water Users Association. If you have any questions regarding the timing of the releases of contract water please contact the respective organization that owns the water.

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