GWIP Mission Statement
GWIP supports science based water management in Montana by answering site-specific questions that are prioritized and assigned by the Montana Ground Water Steering Committee, as mandated by the Montana Legislature and authorized in MCA 85-2-525. To meet this goal, GWIP conducts research on specific hydrogeologic issues in areas that are ranked as the most urgent within the State. The published products of each project include a scientific report that addresses the immediate question and implications for future stresses as appropriate; and typically a groundwater model that is available for use in future analyses.
In Montana, groundwater is essential for safe drinking water supplies and for economic growth. On average, approximately 272,000,000 gallons (835 acre feet) are extracted from Montana's aquifers every day. In many areas of the State, groundwater is the only reliable year-round source of water for household use and for livestock. Groundwater is also widely used for irrigated agriculture and for lawns and gardens. In some settings, groundwater withdrawals could directly affect senior water-rights holders, stream flows, the availability of irrigation water, and the health of aquatic ecosystems. Efficient water management in these areas requires a scientifically based understanding of the groundwater systems.
GWIP investigations are expected to take from 1 to 3 years to complete. The results of each study will include a detailed report describing the hydrogeologic system of the area and a comprehensive set of data.
The products are intended to provide better informed water management decisions and to help anticipate hydrogeologic effects from changes in land use through more detailed understandings of groundwater systems. These products will be used by regulators, senior water-rights holders, new water-rights applicants, and other stakeholders.