An angler uses the River Conditions Tool app. Photo by Mary McFadzen
Water sustains everything: communities use it for drinking, ranchers use it to irrigate crops, recreationists use it for fishing, businesses rely on it for tourism, and fish and wildlife need it for habitat. In the arid, drought-plagued West, it’s no joke that water is as precious as gold. Surface water in Montana, comprised of lakes, ponds, rivers, and creeks, covers 1,494 square miles of the state’s 147,040 square miles, only 1%. Like other western states, Montana is facing serious water challenges due to drought conditions.