2007 ORS 537.405¹
Exempt reservoirs
  • written notification to department
  • injury to other users

(1) Reservoirs in existence on or before January 1, 1995, that store less than 9.2 acre-feet of water or with a dam or impoundment structure less than 10 feet in height, are found to be a beneficial use of the water resources of this state. Except as provided in subsection (4) of this section, such reservoirs are exempt from regulation by the Water Resources Commission and the Water Resources Department and are not required to obtain a permit or certificate under ORS 537.140 (Application for permit) to 537.252 (Certificate issued for land not described in permit).

(2)(a) On or before January 31, 1997, an owner of a reservoir constructed before January 1, 1995, shall provide written notification to the department of the existence of the exempt reservoir. The written notification shall include the quantity of water stored by the reservoir, the source of the water used to fill the reservoir and a map or drawing of sufficient quality and scale to establish the general location of the reservoir by tax lot, township, range and section and to the nearest quarter-quarter section.

(b) Any person who submitted a notice of exemption for a reservoir under ORS 537.141 (Uses of water not requiring water right application, permit or certificate) and qualified for the exemption shall be allowed an exemption.

(3) Within 90 days after receiving written notification under subsection (2) of this section, the department shall provide notice of the exemption in the manner the department determines to be the most appropriate.

(4) Detailed, legally obtained information demonstrating that a specific reservoir exempt under subsection (1) of this section should not be exempt shall be submitted in writing to the department on or before August 1, 1997:

(a) By the State Department of Fish and Wildlife if the reservoir should not be exempt because the existing reservoir, including any impoundment structure, poses a significant detrimental impact to existing fishery resources; or

(b) By any person if the existing reservoir should not be exempt because the existing reservoir, including the storage or use of the water, results in injury to an existing water right.

(5) Within 180 days after the department receives information under subsection (4) of this section, the Water Resources Director shall determine whether the reservoir results in injury to an existing water right or poses a significant detrimental impact to existing fishery resources. The determination of injury to an existing water right or impact to existing fishery resources shall be based on verifiable evidence.

(6) If the director determines that an existing reservoir does not injure an existing water right or pose a significant detrimental impact to existing fishery resources, the reservoir shall be exempt under subsection (1) of this section.

(7) If the director determines that an existing reservoir results in injury to an existing water right or poses a significant detrimental impact to existing fishery resources, the director shall require the owner of the reservoir to take appropriate action to mitigate injury to existing water rights or impact to the existing fishery resources.

(8) If the director fails to act under subsection (6) or (7) of this section within 180 days after receiving the information under subsection (4) of this section, the reservoir shall be considered exempt.

(9) Nothing in this section shall be construed to allow any owner of a reservoir exempt under this section to increase the quantity of water stored in or diverted from such reservoir on or before January 1, 1995. [1995 c.752 §2]

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.