Blackfeet, Bureau of Reclamation sign $2.2M contract to improve water access

The Bureau of Reclamation and Blackfeet Tribe on Thursday signed a contract that aims to improve water access and distribution across the reservation. 

The contract agreement, valued at $2.2 million, will allow the tribe to strategize, design and implement essential water diversion and delivery infrastructure, according to a news release. Origins of the contract date back to the 2016 Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement, which seeks to equitably resolve long-standing water rights claims in Montana.

In January, a broken part at a water treatment plant left Browning residents without water for five days, causing schools, businesses and tribal offices to close. While a Hutterite-owned electric company ultimately saved the day, Blackfeet officials said they planned to inspect the water treatment plants to avoid issues in the future.

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