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Worried water will get turned off

Editor,

I wish, as a Jocko District irrigator, that I had responsible, forward-looking commissioners like the Flathead Irrigation District. Working ranchers and farmers in the Mission and Jocko Districts are in danger of not getting any irrigation water this growing season.

The Flathead Indian Irrigation Project, the agency that manages the water, agreed to spread an increase in operation fees over two years rather than the one year they wanted. Our commissioners agreed to this two-step increase when they were members of the Flathead Joint Board of Control. Once the FJBC was closed down by court order, due to its failure to legally reestablish itself in 2014, the individual districts operated independently.

My commissioners and the Mission commissioners choose not to pay the second year increase. They are taking a political stance instead of supporting their neighbors that have working ranches and farms. The Flathead Irrigation District has chosen to pay the increase and is embarking on negotiating with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes to somehow jointly manage the irrigation system. Stay tuned as negotiations proceed as to what form the management takes.

Please, Jocko and Mission commissioners do not put your neighbors out of business.

Mary Stranahan
Arlee

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