Tester Secures Major Investments in Montana's Water Infrastructure

Senate Passes Legislation to Fund Montana's Water Systems, Compacts & Projects

(U.S. Senate) – Tonight the U.S. Senate voted to pass a final bipartisan version of the 2019 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, which includes much-needed investments to help deliver clean water to communities across Montana.

“Whether you’re running a business, harvesting crops, or raising kids, reliable and clean water is one thing we all need,” Tester said. “These investments will help maintain the integrity of our water systems and benefit Montana’s families, communities, and businesses for years to come.”

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tester is responsible for writing the 12 bills that fund the federal government each year. He fought to include the following Montana provisions in the 2019 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act:


  • $142.5 million for rural water projects, including: 
  • $4.7 million for the Fort Peck-Dry Prairie Rural Water Project
  • $3.9 million for the Rocky Boy’s North Central Montana Rural Water Project
  • $98.7 million to be distributed by Bureau of Reclamation among ongoing projects

In addition to securing $4.7 million to fund the Fort Peck-Dry Prairie Rural Water Project in the coming year, Tester secured an amendment to extend the project’s authorization from 2020 to 2026. Tester also secured an additional $30 million for the Fort Peck and Rocky Boy’s water projects in May.


  • $100 million for Indian Water Rights Settlements, including: 
  • $10 million for the Blackfeet Water Compact
  • $12.7 million for the Crow Water Compact

Tester joined members of the Blackfeet Nation and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to sign the historic Blackfeet Water Compact in June. As a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Tester originally sponsored the Blackfeet Water Compact in 2010 and guided it to the President’s desk where it was signed into law in 2016.


  • $1.9 million for the Milk River Project, which includes St. Mary’s Diversion Dam
  • $5 million for Army Corps watercraft inspection stations to prevent aquatic invasive species from entering the Columbia River Basin 
  • $10 million for the Missouri River Recovery Program
  • $2.6 million for the Libby Dam

Tester helped usher the original version of this bill through the Senate in June. The House then voted on its own version and the two bills had to be reconciled in conference committee. The bill now goes to the House for a final vote before heading to the President’s desk.