2007 ORS 537.211¹
Issuance of permit if application approved
  • contents of permit
  • effect
  • rejection of application
  • change in use allowed under permit

(1) The approval of an application referred to in ORS 537.140 (Application for permit) or 537.400 (Reservoir permits) shall be set forth in a water right permit issued by the Water Resources Department. The permit shall specify the details of the authorized use and shall set forth any terms, limitations and conditions as the department considers appropriate including but not limited to any applicable condition required under ORS 537.289 (Conditions to be imposed on permit of municipal corporation or district). A copy of the permit shall be filed as a public record in the department. The permit shall be mailed to the applicant, and upon receipt of the permit the permittee may proceed with the construction of the necessary works and may take all action required to apply the water to the designated beneficial use and to perfect the proposed appropriation.

(2) Except as provided in subsection (6) of this section, if an application under ORS 537.140 (Application for permit) or 537.400 (Reservoir permits) indicates that the applicant does not have written authorization or an easement permitting access to nonowned land crossed by the proposed ditch, canal or other work, the department may issue a final order approving the application if the approval includes a condition requiring the applicant to obtain such written authorization, or easement or ownership of such land and to provide the department with a copy of the written authorization, easement or evidence of ownership.

(3) If an application referred to in ORS 537.140 (Application for permit) or 537.400 (Reservoir permits) is rejected, the department shall enter a written order setting forth the reasons for the rejection. The applicant shall take no action towards construction of the works or use of the water. The department shall mail a copy of the order to the applicant.

(4) The holder of a water right permit may change the point of diversion, change the point of appropriation, change the point of diversion to allow the appropriation of ground water or use the water on land to which the right is not appurtenant if:

(a) The use of water on land to which the right is not appurtenant, the change of point of diversion or the change in point of appropriation does not result in injury to an existing water right;

(b) For a proposed change in the place of use of the water, the land on which the water is to be used is owned or controlled by the holder of the permit and is contiguous to the land to which the permit is appurtenant;

(c) All other terms of the permit remain the same, including but not limited to the beneficial use for which the water is used and the number of acres to which water is applied;

(d) Prior approval is obtained from the district if the water is transported or conveyed by an irrigation district organized under ORS chapter 545, a drainage district organized under ORS chapter 547, a water improvement district organized under ORS chapter 552, a water control district organized under ORS chapter 553 or a district improvement company or a corporation organized under ORS chapter 554;

(e) The holder of the permit provides written notice to the department at least 60 days before making any changes to the lands, point of diversion or point of appropriation described in the permit;

(f) The holder of the permit complies with the publication requirements of ORS 540.520 (Application for change of use, place of use or point of diversion) (5), if applicable;

(g) Diversion is provided with a proper fish screen, if requested by the State Department of Fish and Wildlife; and

(h) For a request to transfer the point of diversion to allow the appropriation of ground water, the proposed change meets the standards set forth in ORS 540.531 (Transfer of surface water point of diversion to ground water) (2) or (3).

(5) Notwithstanding the requirements of subsection (4)(b) of this section, the holder of a water right permit may change the place of use of all or any portion of water under the permit to land that is not contiguous to the land to which the permit is appurtenant if:

(a) The change to noncontiguous land is in furtherance of mitigation or conservation efforts undertaken for the purposes of benefiting a species listed as sensitive, threatened or endangered under ORS 496.171 (Definitions for ORS 496.171 to 496.182) to 496.192 (Effect of law on commercial forestland or other private land) or the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 to 1544), as determined by the listing agency; and

(b) All other requirements of subsection (4) of this section are met.

(6) For an application made by or on behalf of a public corporation, the department may issue a permit approving the application without requiring the applicant to obtain prior written authorization or an easement permitting access to nonowned lands affected by the proposed project. However, nothing in this subsection shall be construed to allow any person to trespass on the lands of another person.

(7) When the department receives notice under subsection (4)(e) of this section, the department shall publish the notice in the department’s weekly public notice of water right applications.

(8) If the use of water under the permit is for operation of a chemical process mine as defined in ORS 517.953 (Policy):

(a) Review of the application and approval or denial of the application shall be coordinated with the consolidated application process under ORS 517.952 (Definitions for ORS 517.702 to 517.989) to 517.989 (Statutes and rules applicable to consolidated application). However, such review and approval or denial shall take into consideration all policy considerations for the appropriation of water as set forth in this chapter and ORS chapter 536.

(b) The permit may be issued for exploration under ORS 517.702 (Legislative findings) to 517.740 (Rules), but the permit shall be conditioned on the applicant’s compliance with the consolidated application process.

(c) The permit shall include a condition that additional conditions may be added to the use of water when a water right certificate is issued, or when the use of water is changed pursuant to 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) to use for a chemical process mine operation.

(9) As used in this section, "contiguous" includes land separated from the land to which a water right is appurtenant by roads, utility corridors, irrigation ditches or publicly owned rights of way. [1981 c.61 §2 (enacted in lieu of 537.210); 1985 c.392 §10; 1985 c.673 §33; 1991 c.735 §33; 1995 c.365 §4; 1995 c.368 §1; 1995 c.416 §16a; 1997 c.42 §1; 1997 c.446 §3; 1999 c.611 §1; 1999 c.664 §6; 2003 c.705 §2]

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Storage rights to store wa­ter for later beneficial use are not subordinate to later priority direct use rights unless made so by ex­plic­it condi­tions imposed on storage right, (1989) Vol 46, p 290

Chapter 537

Notes of Decisions

Water control district, in applying for wa­ter appropria­tion permit for hydroelectric project, was exempt from licensing pro­vi­sions of ORS 543.010 (Definitions for ORS 543.010 to 543.610) to 543.620 and needed only to comply with require­ments of this Chapter. Steamboaters v. Winchester Water Control Dist., 69 Or App 596, 688 P2d 92 (1984), Sup Ct review denied

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Reserva­tion to state of "all coal and other minerals" in deed of land by state as reserva­tion of geothermal resources, (1980) Vol 41, p 298

Law Review Cita­tions

11 EL 387 (1981); 16 EL 583, 592 (1986); 28 WLR 285 (1992)

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 537—Appropriation of Water Generally, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­537.­html (2007) (last ac­cessed Feb. 12, 2009).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2007, Chapter 537, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­537ano.­htm (2007) (last ac­cessed Feb. 12, 2009).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.