Water is important to Montanans. Cowboys, cattle, and land can get real thirsty when things are dry or frozen. Fish, fowl, critters, and property all need water to flourish.
This year Montana is in pretty good shape. Things are greener than ever. With a little luck, we may have just a flicker of a fire season. Many watersheds are over 100% of their normal rainfall and snowfall amounts. Rivers and lakes are full and wetter than ever.
All of this could change in a hurry. With Montana’s low humidity, water can dry up in a hurry. We can go months with no rain. Things dry up and turn brown fast.
Who has a more important need for water? Farmers, ranchers, fishermen, sportsmen, floaters, lawn waterers, or…
Who pays for the water? Sportsmen buy licenses, pay taxes, and manage wild places. We all pay some taxes but is water a public or private resource? Farmers make a profit from water rights when they sell the grass or crops they grow. Honestly, it comes down to money and who has the most clout or pull with politicians.
Water is a renewable but seasonal resource. Managing our water fairly can be a challenge. Everyone wants to live near the water and have all the water they want. America is blessed with more water than may other nations.
Water is not always where you want or need it to be. We build dams, ditches, pipelines and windmills to put water where nature didn’t.
Water taken from the rivers means less water for fish, irrigation ditches take water from natural waterways to more arid places, potato and grass farmers pump lake full of water onto their crops all day and all night during growing season. Much of the daytime watering evaporates.
America has created a generation of lawn farmers. Having a green and healthy lawn is nice but how important is that? Piles of money are spent to aerate, mow, plug, sprinkle, and fertilize lawns to be green and perfect, for what? Too many folks waste water by watering during the hot day. 30-40% of the water just evaporates. Water early in the morning. Lawns look nice but do not feed critters or get harvested.
We all need water. Be a smart water wise user. Use what is needed and no more. Use water wise shower heads, smart gardening practices, proper soil and fertilizer mixes, and common sense. Every gallon saved is a gallon available for someone else to use.
Go with the flow!
For more Montana Grant, visit his blog or Facebook at www.montanagrantfishing.com.