2015 ORS 537.620¹
Determination of completeness of application
  • initial review
  • preliminary determination
  • notice
  • public comments

(1) The Water Resources Department shall accept all applications for permits submitted under ORS 537.615 (Application for permit to acquire new right or enlarge existing right to appropriate ground water) in proper form.

(2) Within 15 days after receiving the application, the department shall determine whether the application contains the information listed under ORS 537.615 (Application for permit to acquire new right or enlarge existing right to appropriate ground water) (2) and is complete and not defective, including the payment of all fees required under ORS 537.615 (Application for permit to acquire new right or enlarge existing right to appropriate ground water) (5). If the department determines that the application is incomplete or defective or that not all fees have been paid, the department shall return the fees paid and the application to the applicant to remedy the defect. If an application is complete and not defective, the department shall indorse on the application the date upon which the application was received at the department, which shall be the priority date for any water right issued in response to the application.

(3) Upon determining that an application is complete and not defective, the department shall determine whether the proposed use is prohibited by statute. If the proposed use is prohibited by statute, the department shall reject the application and return all fees to the applicant with an explanation of the statutory prohibition.

(4) If the proposed use is not prohibited by statute, the department shall undertake an initial review of the application and make a preliminary determination of:

(a) Whether the proposed use is restricted or limited by statute or rule or because the proposed use is located within a designated critical ground water area;

(b) The extent to which water is available from the proposed source during the times and in the amounts requested; and

(c) Any other issue the department identifies as a result of the initial review that may preclude approval of or restrict the proposed use.

(5) Upon completion of the initial review and no later than 30 days after determining an application to be complete and not defective as described in subsection (2) of this section, the department shall notify the applicant of its preliminary determinations and allow the applicant 14 days from the date of mailing within which to notify the department to stop processing the application or to proceed with the application. If the applicant notifies the department to stop processing the application, the department shall return the application and all fees paid in excess of $225. If the department receives no timely response from the applicant, the department shall proceed with the application.

(6) Within seven days after proceeding with the application under subsection (5) of this section, the department shall give public notice of the application in the weekly notice published by the department. The notice shall include a request for comments on the application and information pertaining to how an interested person may obtain future notices about the application and a copy of the proposed final order.

(7) Within 30 days after the public notice under subsection (6) of this section, any person interested in the application shall submit written comments to the department. Any person who asks to receive a copy of the departments proposed final order shall submit to the department the fee required under ORS 536.050 (Fees) (1)(p). [1955 c.708 §10; 1981 c.589 §4; 1985 c.673 §55; 1989 c.201 §3; 1991 c.102 §2; 1991 c.400 §3; 1991 c.735 §35; 1993 c.557 §5; 1995 c.416 §23; 1997 c.587 §9; 2007 c.267 §3; 2009 c.819 §§9,16; 2013 c.644 §8]

Note: The amendments to 537.620 (Determination of completeness of application) by section 9, chapter 644, Oregon Laws 2013, become operative July 1, 2017. See section 16, chapter 644, Oregon Laws 2013. The text that is operative on and after July 1, 2017, is set forth for the users convenience.

537.620 (Determination of completeness of application). (1) The Water Resources Department shall accept all applications for permits submitted under ORS 537.615 (Application for permit to acquire new right or enlarge existing right to appropriate ground water) in proper form.

(2) Within 15 days after receiving the application, the department shall determine whether the application contains the information listed under ORS 537.615 (Application for permit to acquire new right or enlarge existing right to appropriate ground water) (2) and is complete and not defective, including the payment of all fees required under ORS 537.615 (Application for permit to acquire new right or enlarge existing right to appropriate ground water) (5). If the department determines that the application is incomplete or defective or that not all fees have been paid, the department shall return the fees paid and the application to the applicant to remedy the defect. If an application is complete and not defective, the department shall indorse on the application the date upon which the application was received at the department, which shall be the priority date for any water right issued in response to the application.

(3) Upon determining that an application is complete and not defective, the department shall determine whether the proposed use is prohibited by statute. If the proposed use is prohibited by statute, the department shall reject the application and return all fees to the applicant with an explanation of the statutory prohibition.

(4) If the proposed use is not prohibited by statute, the department shall undertake an initial review of the application and make a preliminary determination of:

(a) Whether the proposed use is restricted or limited by statute or rule or because the proposed use is located within a designated critical ground water area;

(b) The extent to which water is available from the proposed source during the times and in the amounts requested; and

(c) Any other issue the department identifies as a result of the initial review that may preclude approval of or restrict the proposed use.

(5) Upon completion of the initial review and no later than 30 days after determining an application to be complete and not defective as described in subsection (2) of this section, the department shall notify the applicant of its preliminary determinations and allow the applicant 14 days from the date of mailing within which to notify the department to stop processing the application or to proceed with the application. If the applicant notifies the department to stop processing the application, the department shall return the application and all fees paid in excess of $200. If the department receives no timely response from the applicant, the department shall proceed with the application.

(6) Within seven days after proceeding with the application under subsection (5) of this section, the department shall give public notice of the application in the weekly notice published by the department. The notice shall include a request for comments on the application and information pertaining to how an interested person may obtain future notices about the application and a copy of the proposed final order.

(7) Within 30 days after the public notice under subsection (6) of this section, any person interested in the application shall submit written comments to the department. Any person who asks to receive a copy of the departments proposed final order shall submit to the department the fee required under ORS 536.050 (Fees) (1)(p).

Notes of Decisions

Ground Water Act of 1955, construed together with ORS chapter 536, governing ad­min­is­tra­­tion of wa­ter resources generally, cannot be read as expressly prohibiting local bodies from engaging in regulatory ac­tivity consistent with statute or agency regula­tions. Water Resources Dept. v. City of Klamath Falls, 68 Or App 148, 682 P2d 779 (1984), Sup Ct review denied

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Require­ments for exploring for or produc­tion of geothermal or oil or gas resources, (1974) Vol 37, p 68

Law Review Cita­tions

4 EL 333 (1974); 47 WLR 405 (2011)

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/­ors537.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2015, Chapter 537, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano537.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
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.