Water Court

The 1979 Legislature created the Montana Water Court to expedite and facilitate the statewide adjudication of over 219,000 state law-based water rights and Indian and Federal reserved water rights claims. The Water Court has exclusive jurisdiction over the adjudication of water rights claims.

Water Court Judges

The Chief Justice of the Montana Supreme Court appoints a Chief Water Judge and Associate Water Judge from a list of nominees submitted by the Judicial Nomination Commission. A division water judge is also designated for each of Montana's four major water divisions. The Chief Water Judge appoints Special Masters, referred to as Water Masters, to assist the water judges.

Chief Water Judge Russell McElyea
Associate Water Judge Stephen Brown