Montana's water law currently provides several mechanisms to directly protect or enhance instream flows or water levels. Provision in law that protect instream flows include:
- Pre 1973 statutory directive or authorization to create instream water right on certain key streams. (These existing water rights include "Murphy Rights", "Public Recreational Claims" and Use Rights.), [Learn more]
- Post 1973 rights created through the State's Water Reservation process,
- Water Leasing, (The Conversions of existing diversionary water rights to instream flow purposes.)
- Purchase or service contracts for water delivery from new or existing water storage projects.
Other mechanisms that help maintain stream flow conditions:
- Future Fishery Projects, and
- Designation of "Closed Basin" watersheds.