2011 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]

Note: Section 17, chapter 907, Oregon Laws 2009, provides:

Sec. 17. (1) As used in this section, critical ground water storage project means an underground or below-ground storage of river water in a critical ground water area designated under ORS 537.730 (Designation of critical ground water area) for use in:

(a) Aquifer storage and recovery as described in ORS 537.534 (Rules for permitting and administering aquifer storage and recovery projects) and streamflow augmentation and restoration; or

(b) Recharging ground water basins and reservoirs as described in ORS 537.135 (Permit required to appropriate water for recharging ground water sources) and streamflow augmentation and restoration.

(2) The Water Resources Department may issue a grant under this section only for a critical ground water storage project that is located in the Umatilla Basin and that meets the conditions described in this section.

(3) Except as provided in subsection (4) of this section, notwithstanding ORS 537.534 (Rules for permitting and administering aquifer storage and recovery projects), if the project uses artificial recharge to recharge an alluvial aquifer that is not confined, the project must be designed:

(a) To provide for no more than 75 percent of new stored water to be withdrawn and for not less than 25 percent of the new water to be dedicated for the purpose of providing net environmental public benefits or in-stream benefits; and

(b) To the extent practicable, to return dedicated new stored water for stream augmentation at a time of year that the Water Resources Department, in consultation with the State Department of Fish and Wildlife and relevant tribal governments, determines will provide the maximum net environmental public benefit or in-stream benefit.

(4) If more than 25 percent of the funding for an aquifer storage and recovery project is from grants of state moneys and is not subject to repayment, the project must be designed to dedicate for the purpose of providing net environmental public benefit or in-stream benefit a percentage of the new stored water created by the project that equals or exceeds the percentage of funding for the project that is from grants of state moneys. The Water Resources Department shall manage the dedicated increment of new stored water for net environmental public benefit and in-stream benefit.

(5) On or before the earlier of six years after the issuance of the ground water recharge permit or the date the water right certificate is issued, the department shall quantify and legally protect in-stream the increment of new water returned in stream from a project described in this section.

(6) The department shall require as a contractual condition for issuing the grant, and as a condition of any new groundwater recharge permit or water right certificate issued for the project, that if the project receives grants or loans from state moneys other than a grant issued under this section, the project must be operated in a manner that actually dedicates the percentage of new stored water for net environmental public benefit or in-stream benefit that the project was designed to dedicate for those purposes.

(7) This section does not limit the authority granted the Environmental Quality Commission or the Department of Environmental Quality under ORS chapter 468B.

(8) This section is repealed January 2, 2030. [2009 c.907 §17]