Water Supply Analysis for the Milk River Basin, Montana

by Steven K. Sando, Montana Dep of Natural Resources, & Conservation, Helena, MT, USA,
Richard J. DeVore, Montana Dep of Natural Resources, & Conservation, Helena, MT, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering Hydrology


The U. S. Bureau of Reclamation's Milk River Irrigation Project provides water for 55,000 ha of irrigation in the Milk River basin of Montana. The project includes an interbasin diversion (for the transfer of water from the St. Mary River), three storage reservoirs, and many diversion dams, canals, and lesser structures. A variable water supply, poor delivery system, and difficulties with water management have led to periodic water shortages for the project. Efforts to make up the shortages are complicated by several factors. The division of water of the Milk and St. Mary rivers between the U. S. and Canada is governed by treaty and Canada is planning to fully develop its water supply. Also, the settlement of reserved water rights of two Indian reservations will affect the available supply in the future. Planning for the basin has been based on a simulation model that evaluates the effects various strategies have on streamflows, irrigation shortages, or reservoir contents at 35 nodes. The model indicates that shortages are most effectively dealt with through conservation and rehabilitation programs.

Subject Headings: Water supply | Rivers and streams | Basins | Water reclamation | Irrigation | Water storage | Reservoirs | Water shortage | Montana | United States | Canada

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