2011 ORS § 540.510¹
Appurtenancy of water to premises
  • restrictions on change of use, place of use or point of diversion
  • application for transfer of primary and supplemental water rights
  • right to use conserved water

(1) Except as provided in subsections (2) to (8) of this section, all water used in this state for any purpose shall remain appurtenant to the premises upon which it is used and no change in use or place of use of any water for any purpose may be made without compliance with the provisions of ORS 540.520 (Application for change of use, place of use or point of diversion) and 540.530 (Order authorizing change of use, place of use or point of diversion). However, the holder of any water use subject to transfer may, upon compliance with the provisions of ORS 540.520 (Application for change of use, place of use or point of diversion) and 540.530 (Order authorizing change of use, place of use or point of diversion), change the use and place of use, the point of diversion or the use theretofore made of the water in all cases without losing priority of the right theretofore established. A district may change the place of use in the manner provided in ORS 540.572 (Application of certificated water elsewhere within district) to 540.580 (Permanent transfer of place of use of water within district) in lieu of the method provided in ORS 540.520 (Application for change of use, place of use or point of diversion) and 540.530 (Order authorizing change of use, place of use or point of diversion). When an application for change of the use or place of use for a primary water right is submitted in accordance with this section, the applicant also shall indicate whether the land described in the application has an appurtenant supplemental water right or permit. If the applicant also intends to transfer the supplemental water right or permit, the applicant also shall include the information required under ORS 540.520 (Application for change of use, place of use or point of diversion) (2) for the supplemental water right or permit. If the applicant does not include the supplemental water right or permit in the transfer application, the Water Resources Department shall notify the applicant that the supplemental water right or permit will be canceled before the department issues the order approving the transfer of the primary water right, unless within 30 days the applicant modifies the application to include the supplemental water right or permit or withdraws the application. The department may approve the transfer of the supplemental water right or permit in accordance with the provisions of ORS 540.520 (Application for change of use, place of use or point of diversion) and 540.530 (Order authorizing change of use, place of use or point of diversion). The department shall not approve the transfer of a supplemental water right or permit if the transfer would result in enlargement of the original water right or injury to an existing water right. If the department approves the transfer of the primary water right but does not approve the transfer of the supplemental water right or permit, the department shall notify the applicant of the departments intent to cancel that portion of the supplemental water right or permit described in the transfer application before the department issues the primary water right transfer order, unless the applicant withdraws the transfer application within 90 days.

(2) Subject to the limitations in ORS 537.490 (Use of conserved water), any right to the use of conserved water allocated by the Water Resources Commission under ORS 537.470 (Allocation of conserved water by commission) may be severed from the land and transferred or sold after notice to the commission as required under ORS 537.490 (Use of conserved water).

(3)(a) Any water used under a permit or certificate issued to a municipality, or under rights conferred by ORS 538.410 (Confirmation of water rights acquired prior to February 24, 1909, for municipal supply) to 538.450 (Pendleton), or under the registration system set forth in ORS 537.132 (Exemption from permit requirement for use of reclaimed water), may be applied to beneficial use on lands to which the right is not appurtenant if:

(A) The water is applied to lands which are acquired by annexation or through merger, consolidation or formation of a water authority, so long as the rate and use of water allowed in the original certificate is not exceeded;

(B) The use continues to be for municipal purposes and would not interfere with or impair prior vested water rights; or

(C) The use is authorized under a permit granted under ORS 468B.050 (Water quality permit) or 468B.053 (Alternatives to obtaining water quality permit) and for which a reclaimed water registration form has been filed under ORS 537.132 (Exemption from permit requirement for use of reclaimed water).

(b) As used in this subsection, municipality means a city, a port formed under ORS 777.005 (Definitions for ORS 777.005 to 777.725 and 777.915 to 777.953) to 777.725 (Borrowing money to pay bonus), 777.915 (Definitions for ORS 777.915 to 777.953) to 777.953 (Annexation) and 778.010 (District known as Port of Portland), a domestic water supply district formed under ORS chapter 264, a water supplier as defined in ORS 448.115 (Definitions for ORS 448.115 to 448.285) or a water authority formed under ORS chapter 450.

(4) Pursuant to the provisions of ORS 540.570 (Temporary transfers within districts) or 540.585 (Temporary transfers within Deschutes River Basin), any water used under a permit or certificate issued to a district may be applied to beneficial use on lands within the district to which the right is not appurtenant.

(5) The relocation of a point of diversion as necessary to follow the movements of a naturally changing stream channel does not constitute a change in point of diversion for purposes of ORS 540.520 (Application for change of use, place of use or point of diversion) if:

(a) The diversion point stays within 500 feet of the point of diversion on record with the Water Resources Department;

(b) The change does not move the diversion point upstream or downstream beyond the diversion point of another appropriator; and

(c) The diversion is provided with a proper fish screen, if requested by the State Department of Fish and Wildlife.

(6) In the event that government action results in or creates a reasonable expectation of a change in the surface level of a surface water source that impairs or threatens to impair access to a point of diversion authorized by a water right permit, certificate or decree, the owner of the water right may change the point of diversion or add an additional point of diversion in accordance with the provisions of this section in lieu of complying with the requirements of ORS 540.520 (Application for change of use, place of use or point of diversion) and 540.530 (Order authorizing change of use, place of use or point of diversion). Before changing the point of diversion, the water right owner shall provide written notice of the proposed change to the Water Resources Department. Within 15 days after receipt of such notice, the department shall provide notice by publication in the departments public notice of water right applications. Within 60 days after the department receives notice from the owner, the Water Resources Director, by order, shall approve the change unless the director finds the changes will result in injury to other existing water rights. All other terms and conditions of the water right shall remain in effect.

(7) The sale or lease of the right to the use of conserved water under ORS 537.490 (Use of conserved water) does not constitute a change of use or a change in the place of use of water for purposes of ORS 540.520 (Application for change of use, place of use or point of diversion).

(8) Ground water applied to an exempt use as set forth in ORS 537.141 (Uses of water not requiring water right application, permit or certificate) or 537.545 (Exempt uses) may be subsequently applied to land for irrigation purposes under ORS 537.141 (Uses of water not requiring water right application, permit or certificate) (1)(i) or 537.545 (Exempt uses) (1)(g) without application for a change in use or place of use under this section. [Amended by 1987 c.264 §11; 1989 c.7 §1; 1989 c.707 §3; 1991 c.370 §5; 1991 c.957 §7; 1993 c.577 §36; 1993 c.641 §9; 1995 c.168 §1; 1995 c.274 §2; 1995 c.359 §2; 1997 c.244 §4; 1997 c.286 §10; 1999 c.335 §2; 2003 c.705 §8]