Billings Integrated Water Plan
The City of Billings, Montana, (est. pop. 100,000) is facing a myriad of water management challenges, including new regulations on its stormwater discharges through the Phase 2 Stormwater rule, more restrictive river discharge requirements that impact the wastewater system, as well as drinking water treatment capacity and water rights limitations. The city is addressing these challenges by looking at their water systems together in an integrated water plan, rather than separately as they have traditionally. This plan will explore alternatives that include all city water system components from exploring a variety of reuse opportunities to alternative stormwater treatment and load trading. Other alternatives include expanding water delivery from the irrigation canals that pass through the city to meet lawn irrigation needs in the summer months rather than relying on the potable supply, working with local industry to use city effluent rather than potable supply, discharging city effluent in the irrigation canals to feed water to downstream irrigators and many others. The planning process includes a wide variety of stakeholders from area refineries, the county, food processing operations, Montana Department of Environmental Quality, the local conservation district and others.