2015 ORS § 537.730¹
Designation of critical ground water area
  • rules
  • notice

(1) The Water Resources Commission by rule may designate an area of the state a critical ground water area if:

(a) Ground water levels in the area in question are declining or have declined excessively;

(b) The Water Resources Department finds a pattern of substantial interference between wells within the area in question;

(c) The department finds a pattern of interference or potential interference between wells of ground water claimants or appropriators within the area in question with the production of geothermal resources from an area regulated under ORS chapter 522;

(d) The department finds a pattern of substantial interference between wells within the area in question and:

(A) An appropriator of surface water whose water right has an earlier priority date; or

(B) A restriction imposed on surface water appropriation or a minimum perennial streamflow that has an effective date earlier than the priority date of the ground water appropriation;

(e) The available ground water supply in the area in question is being or is about to be overdrawn;

(f) The purity of the ground water in the area in question has been or reasonably may be expected to become polluted to an extent contrary to the public welfare, health and safety; or

(g) Ground water temperatures in the area in question are expected to be, are being or have been substantially altered except as specified in ORS 537.796 (Rules regarding low temperature geothermal appropriations).

(2) The proceeding to designate a critical ground water area shall be conducted according to the provisions under ORS chapter 183 applicable to the adoption of rules by an agency, except that a hearing on a critical ground water declaration shall occur at least 60 days after notice has been given.

(3) In addition to the notice requirements under ORS 183.335 (Notice), the department shall give notice by regular mail to:

(a) The owners of record of all ground water registrations, permits and certificates for water use within the affected area; and

(b) Each water well constructor licensed under ORS 537.747 (Water well constructors license).

(4) If the department satisfies the notice requirements under ORS 183.335 (Notice) and subsection (3) of this section, a person shall not contest a critical ground water area designation on grounds of failure to receive notice by regular mail. [1955 c.708 §26; 1957 c.341 §8; 1981 c.589 §5; 1985 c.673 §62; 1987 c.442 §1; 1989 c.201 §4; 1991 c.400 §4]