Modernizing Montana Water Rights

Replacing a legacy application for a mission-critical Water Rights Information System to benefit government and public record keeping and interaction

Helena, Montana
Montana Department of Natural Resources Water Resources Division

As an expert in water-rights engineering, RESPEC also provides clients with comprehensive data and technology services to modernize and upgrade government agencies to better serve the public. Since 2016, RESPEC’s Data & Technology Solutions team has worked in close collaboration with the State of Montana to upgrade their Oracle Forms and Reports application for Project Trident, which was formerly called the Water Rights Information System (WRIS). Project Trident bridges the State with the public. The State monitors usage data for every water well that exists in Montana. On the public side, individuals need to understand and manage their water rights related to real-estate ownership or using adjacent waterbodies—to legally use water but not own it.

At the project’s onset, RESPEC’s team provided assurance to Montana’s Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) that the proposed software architecture and design would work within conservative funding goals. Our team then performed the proof-of-concept phase and proved that the proposed architecture and technology would effectively upgrade the DNRC’s unsupported Oracle application, which was nearly 20 years old. With RESPEC’s help, the DNRC will transition to a new web-based application culminating in a user-friendly public website for monitoring water rights.

Our team is currently active in Project Trident’s Phase 2 and focused on migrating Oracle Reports to Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS). Microsoft SSRS will provide a highly supportable, scalable application that is far less expensive to maintain. In Phase 3, RESPEC will redesign the application and take the existing technology to a new web-based platform. Our team will also provide training to bring the DNRC staff online with the sustainable new application.  In Phase 4, we will update and implement the public-facing web structure so that Internet users can download their water-rights abstracts from the DNRC website. The final phase will include implementing ad hoc reporting.

As an industry leader in data and technology solutions with more than 30 years of experience in water-resources and water-rights engineering, RESPEC has designed high security into Project Trident to support the DNRC’s mission and protect its data. These solutions for tracking water rights and usage are robust and broadly applicable to many state agencies concerned with safely storing and using confidential public data.