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New water deal between Montana and Salish and Kootenai tribes draws 150 people to meeting


KALISPELL, Montana — A revised draft water rights compact for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes drew mixed reactions from about 150 people during a public meeting.

The meeting was held Saturday in Kalispell by the Montana Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission.

The proposed compact would quantify the tribes' water rights in Western Montana and obligate the state to spend $55 million to improve the Flathead Indian Irrigation Project. It is the result of more than 10 years of negotiations among the state, the tribes and the federal government.

The Daily Inter Lake reports ( ) that some speakers encouraged rejection of the new compact while others praised the commission's work on it.

A final public meeting to discuss the compact will be held Monday night in Helena.

Information from: Daily Inter Lake,

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