Montana Water Facts


Major Montana Rivers and Streams

 

Montana's Water Resources are diverse.  Read further for some interesting Montana Water Facts.

  • More than 170,000 miles of streams and rivers meander through Montana. The state ranks third in total stream miles in the contiguous U.S (not including Alaska and Hawaii).  - Source: Headwaters to a Continent See US stream miles table below.
  • Wetlands and riparian areas (streamside green zones) cover 1-4% of Montana. These places support half of Montana’s plant species and 38% of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals of special concern.Sources: Montana Audubon and 1997 USGS summary on wetlands
  • Another way to look at Montana's water supply is to say that 38% of public supply and 93% of self-supplied domestic water is from groundwater. ("Public supply" is a water company which may supply domestic, industrial and commercial uses. "Self-supplied domestic" is water for in-home use only but not from a public system.) See NRIS site.

Supply in Montana (2000 data)

Ground-water (mgd)

Surface-water (mgd)

Total (mgd)

Public water supply

56.1

92.4

149

Self supplied domestic

17.3

1.29

18.6

Totals

73.4

93.69

167.6

*mgd is million gallons per day

  • Producing a typical lunch--hamburger, French fries, and a soft drink--uses 1500 gallons of water. This includes the water needed to raise the potatoes, the grain for the bun, the grain needed to feed the cattle, and the production of the soda. World Wildlife Fund (This is a widely quoted fact, but finding the true source proves to be very difficult. At best it is a rough estimate given the amount of water it takes to make the components of lunch. Consider this fact simply "food for thought.") Source: 
  • One gallon of used motor oil can contaminate up to one million gallons of water.
    -Source: EPA factsheet

State Total River and Stream Miles from US EPA state reports

State

Miles

State

Miles

Alabama

77,274

Montana

176,750

Alaska

365,000

Nebraska

81,573

Arizona

90,373

Nevada

143,578

Arkansas

87,617

New Hampshire

10,881

California

211,513

New Jersey

6,450

Colorado

107,403

New Mexico

110,741

Connecticut

5,830

New York

52,337

Delaware

2,509

North Carolina

37,853

Florida

51,858

North Dakota

54,373

Georgia

70,150

Ohio

29,113

Hawaii

3,905

Oklahoma

78,778

Idaho

115,595

Oregon

114,823

Illinois

87,110

Pennsylvania

83,260

Indiana

35,673

Rhode Island

1,392

Iowa

71,665

South Carolina

29,898

Kansas

134,338

South Dakota

9,937

Kentucky

49,105

Tennessee

61,075

Louisiana

66,294

Texas

191,228

Maine

31,752

Utah

85,916

Massachusetts

8,229

Vermont

7,099

Maryland

17,000

Virginia

49,358

Michigan

51,438

Washington

70,439

Minnesota

91,444

West Virginia

32,278

Mississippi

84,003

Wisconsin

57,698

Missouri

51,978

Wyoming

108,767

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