Twenty-two ditches traverse Yellowstone County with six of those ditches located within the City limits. Many of the ditches are open waterways, however, there are several miles of culverts and pipes that carry ditch water beneath the city. In addition to ditches, there are also a series of open canals and piping that carry excess water away from the city during times of flooding, irrigation field runoff or for discharge of stormwater; these are called drains and are in various locations throughout the city. Ditches and drains are a valuable amenity to both the City and neighborhoods by providing natural water features, controlling stormwater runoff, and providing trail corridors.
It is important realize to that several of the ditches and all of the drains eventually discharge to the Yellowstone River. Dumping of yard wastes, chemicals, trash or debris can potentially cause flooding within the ditches and drains, backups in the City’s stormwater collection system, as well as pollute the Yellowstone River. Learn more about Yellowstone River Intakes and Outfalls
Who owns and maintains ditches?
The main ditches within the county are controlled and maintained through ditch easements by private ditch companies, not the City of Billings. Permission from the ditch companies is required to divert or alter the course of the ditches, construct ditch crossings, discharge stormwater into ditches, and to use irrigation water. More information on responsibilities of landowners adjacent to the ditches can be found HERE.