Crow MR&I Rural Common Questions and Answers
1. What is a rural water system?
A rural water system consists of a network of pipelines, tanks, pumps
and other equipment to distribute water to the reaches of a rural area such
as the Crow Reservation. Members include individual farmers ad ranchers and
other rural users and also area towns, subdivisions, and similar "bulk" users.
2. Are rural water systems something new?
No. Rural water systems have been in operation since the early 1950’s and have
been operating throughout the central United States for the past 60 years.
Montana has just started building these systems in the last decade. There are
currently two other systems under construction and two others that are trying
to obtain funding to begin design and construction.
3. How can a rural water system benefit me?
A rural water system will provide high quality water in sufficient quantity with
dependable service. Existing problems, poor water quality, costs associated
with individual wells and pumps will be eliminated. The reliable and quality
water service will increase the value of your property.
4. How will the construction of the rural water system be funded?
The system is being built with funds provided from the “Crow Tribe
Water Rights Settlement Act of 2010”.
5. Why do I have to pay for water that belongs to the Crow Tribe?
As a Crow Tribal member or non-member, you are not actually paying for the
water itself, what the monthly water bill pays for is the treatment and delivery
of safe drinking water to your residence. These costs can include electricity
for pumping and treatment, operators to run the plant, and general operation
and maintenance to keep the system running.
6. What will my monthly cost be for water?
It is too early in the process to determine what it will cost each resident monthly
for water usage. Many factors will determine what the rates will be. Some of the
factors are; household size, the amount of water used per household, the type of
treatment constructed, but most importantly the rate structure and policies
developed by the Tribe.
7. How large are most rural water systems?
They vary in size. The system could serve any number of families. Systems
can cover a few hundred square miles and some systems may cover over
10,000 square miles. These large systems may have over 5,000 miles of
pipelines. The proposed system for the Crow Tribe would range from
600 to 800 miles of pipe.
8. Will the water be of good quality?
Yes! The water will be the best quality obtainable from available sources.
The project will be a public community water supply and will conform to all
drinking water standards. The system, accordingly, will employ certified water
distribution and water plant operators to assure a safe and desirable water
9. How long will it take to receive water?
The time varies. It depends on the area where you live, the “Crow Tribe
Water Rights Settlement Act of 2010” requires that parts of the Big Horn
Valley will be served first, then the Little Big Horn Valley, and lastly the Pryor
area. Due to the large size of this system, some customers may receive
water in 3-5 years, while others may have to wait 10 years or longer. As
pipelines are built, residences along that pipeline will start receiving water
10. Where will water lines be laid?
Generally, the pipelines will follow the existing roads and be placed within
easements on all types of property.
11. How is the system operated and maintained after construction is
Operation and maintenance is under the direction of the Crow Tribe Water
Resource Department that will employ EPA certified water operators.
12. If I have a well on my farm, can I continue to use it?
Yes, but the well has to be physically disconnected from the rural water system.
13. Can I use the existing piping on my farm and in my buildings?
In most cases, yes. This will generally depend on the condition of the existing
pipeline. Some modifications may have to be made at the point where the new
rural system is connected to the existing farm piping and at the point
14. Will the system provide fire protection on my farm?
Fire protection is not specifically provided and pumper trucks are not allowed
to directly connect to the pipelines. Emergency flows are available but will
impact the service to surrounding users. Drop basins may be used and
15. What will the water pressure be?
The system is being designed to deliver water to users at 35-65 psi.
The exact pressure each user will have depends on their elevation and
location on the system.