Personal tools

Return to Top
DNRC Headquarters
1625 Eleventh Ave. Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 444-2074 | Fax: (406) 444-2684
Questions? Email us

Water Rights Bureau

River in Sanders County

Who should I contact?

The Water Resources Regional Offices are here to help! Please contact your local office for assistance.

Billings: (406) 247-4415
Bozeman: (406) 586-3136
Glasgow: (406) 228-2561
Havre: (406) 265-5516
Helena: (406) 444-6999
Kalispell: (406) 752-2288
Lewistown: (406) 538-7459
Missoula: (406) 721-4284

For additional assistance, please contact the Water Rights Bureau/Central Office.

Water Rights Bureau/Central Office
1424 9th Avenue
PO Box 201601
Helena, MT 59620-1601

Phone (406) 444-6610
Fax (406) 444-0533

Millie Heffner
Bureau Chief
(406) 444-0581

Jim Ferch
Program Manager
(406) 752-2735

John Hoeglund
Program Specialist
(406) 444-6614

Martin Balukas
Hearing Examiner/Program Specialist
(406) 444-9755

David Vogler
Hearing Examiner
(406) 444-6835

Jamie Price
Hearings Assistant/Admin. Support
(406) 444-6615

What is a Water Right?

A water right allows you to legally use water in a prescribed manner, but not to own the water itself. Without diversion and beneficial use, there is no water right.  Water rights in Montana are basically broken down into two groups. 

  1. Water rights that were established prior to July 1,1973 are administered by the Adjudication Bureau.
  2. Water rights that were established from July 1, 1973 through the present are administered by the New Appropriations Program.


What Does The Water Rights Bureau Do?

The Water Rights Bureau administers the following:


Water Right Search

Following are some tools and resources to aid you in your search for water rights information


Water Right Application Information


Water Right Ownership Updates


Water Right Forms

Water Right Forms

Click here for water right forms


Water Rights rules:
ARM 36.12.---

Form acceptance:
ARM 36.12.1301

Form modification:
ARM 36.12.1401

Deficiency letters and termination:
ARM 36.12.1501

Correct and complete determination:
ARM 36.12.1601

Permit application requirements:
ARM 36.12.1701-36.12.1707

Permit and change applications:
ARM  36.12.1801-36.12.1802

Change applications:
ARM 36.12.1901-36.12.1904

Upcoming Events

DNRC Water Resources Division will meet with interested stakeholders to discuss the development of guidelines for addressing potential water right implications associated with stream and wetland restoration projects. The meeting will be held on Thursday, December 10 from 1:30 to 3:30 at the Montana Historical Society auditorium located due east of the Capitol at 225 N. Roberts.