Module 6: Water Uses & Challenges

Irrigation and water use

Students will learn about water use, water rights and other pertinent laws, how hydrology influences everything, how irrigation works, and the associated impacts to streams from all the above.

In more detail, this module will discuss water use in Montana and how it impacts water availability for in-stream flows. How hydrology, water rights, and land use, such as irrigation, spatially and temporally affect streamflows in the Yellowstone and Missouri River basins in Montana will be discussed with general concepts and specific examples. Who exactly has the right to use water in Montana? Can they really dry up the stream? The challenge of satisfying multiple uses of a limited resource in a changing cultural and natural landscape requires an understanding of hydrology, water rights, legal sideboards, and ongoing collaborative efforts. This module will address negative (and positive) water quantity and quality impacts of irrigation, groundwater pumping, and domestic and municipal water use in the context of natural hydrologic conditions and climate change as well as take a closer look into the impacts of water conservation efforts and what can be done to improve sustainability of water in Montana.

Numerous individuals and sources have provided material for this module, and their contributions are acknowledged in the text and in the Resources section. This module just breaks the surface of the subject and students are encouraged to read the primary sources as part of their continuing education.

Outfitters and guides who are registered as students of the Guiding for the Future program are required to complete each module of the course. The course is available online 24/7, features short 'chapters' and includes a final test.

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(Registered Students)