2015 ORS 537.630¹
Time allowed for construction work under permit
  • certificate of completion
  • survey
  • ground water right certificate
  • requirements for supplemental water right

(1) Except for the holder of a permit for municipal use, the holder of a permit issued pursuant to ORS 537.625 (Final order) shall prosecute the construction of a well or other means of developing and securing the ground water with reasonable diligence and complete the construction within a reasonable time fixed in the permit by the Water Resources Department, not to exceed five years after the date of approval of the application. However, the department, for good cause shown, shall order and allow an extension of time, including an extension beyond the five-year period, for the completion of the well or other means of developing and securing the ground water or for complete application of water to beneficial use. In determining the extension, the department shall give due weight to the considerations described under ORS 539.010 (Protection of water rights vested or initiated prior to February 24, 1909) (5) and to whether other governmental requirements relating to the project have significantly delayed completion of construction or perfection of the right.

(2) The holder of a permit for municipal use shall commence and complete the construction of any proposed works within 20 years from the date on which the permit for municipal use is issued under ORS 537.625 (Final order). The construction must proceed with reasonable diligence and be completed within the time specified in the permit, not to exceed 20 years. However, the department may order and allow an extension of time to complete construction or to perfect a water right beyond the time specified in the permit under the following conditions:

(a) The holder shows good cause. In determining the extension, the department shall give due weight to the considerations described under ORS 539.010 (Protection of water rights vested or initiated prior to February 24, 1909) (5) and to whether other governmental requirements relating to the project have significantly delayed completion of construction or perfection of the right;

(b) The extension of time is conditioned to provide that the holder may divert water beyond the maximum rate diverted for beneficial use before the extension only upon approval by the department of a water management and conservation plan; and

(c) For the first extension issued after June 29, 2005, for a permit for municipal use issued before November 2, 1998, the department finds that the undeveloped portion of the permit is conditioned to maintain, in the portions of waterways affected by water use under the permit, the persistence of fish species listed as sensitive, threatened or endangered under state or federal law. The department shall base its finding on existing data and upon the advice of the State Department of Fish and Wildlife. An existing fish protection agreement between the permit holder and a state or federal agency that includes conditions to maintain the persistence of any listed fish species in the affected portion of the waterway is conclusive for purposes of the finding.

(3) If the construction of any well or other means of developing and securing the ground water is completed after the date of approval of the application for a permit under ORS 537.625 (Final order), within 30 days after the completion, or if the construction is completed before the date of approval, within 30 days after the date of approval, the permit holder shall file a certificate of completion with the Water Resources Department, disclosing:

(a) The depth to the water table;

(b) The depth, diameter and type of each well, and the kind and amount of the casing;

(c) The capacity of the well pump in gallons per minute and the drawdown thereof;

(d) The identity of the record owner of any property that was described in the application for a permit under ORS 537.625 (Final order) but is not included in the certificate of completion; and

(e) Any other information the department considers necessary.

(4) Upon completion of beneficial use necessary to secure the ground water as required under this section, the permit holder shall hire a water right examiner certified under ORS 537.798 (Water right examiner certificate) to survey the appropriation. Within one year after applying the water to beneficial use or the beneficial use date allowed in the permit, the permit holder shall submit the survey as required by the Water Resources Department to the department along with the certificate of completion required under subsection (3) of this section. If any property described in the permit is not included in the request for a water right certificate, the permittee shall state the identity of the record owner of that property.

(5) After the department has received a certificate of completion and a copy of the survey as required by subsections (3) and (4) of this section that show, to the satisfaction of the department, that an appropriation has been perfected in accordance with the provisions of ORS 537.505 (Short title) to 537.795 (ORS 537.505 to 537.795 supplementary) and 537.992 (Civil penalties), the department shall issue a ground water right certificate of the same character as that described in ORS 537.700 (Issuing ground water right certificate). The certificate shall be recorded and transmitted to the applicant as provided in ORS 537.700 (Issuing ground water right certificate).

(6) The procedure for cancellation of a permit shall be as provided in ORS 537.260 (Cancellation of permit for failure of proof of completion of appropriation).

(7) Notwithstanding ORS 537.410 (Failure to commence or complete work, or to properly apply water, as grounds for cancellation of permit), for purposes of obtaining a water right certificate under subsection (5) of this section for a supplemental water right, the permittee shall have a facility capable of handling the full rate and duty of water requested from the supplemental source and be otherwise ready, willing and able to use the amount of water requested, up to the amount of water approved in the water right permit. To obtain a certificate for a supplemental water right, the permittee is not required to have actually used water from the supplemental source if:

(a) Water was available from the source of the primary water right and the primary water right was used pursuant to the terms of the primary water right; or

(b) The nonuse of water from the supplemental source occurred during a period of time within which the exercise of the supplemental water right permit was not necessary due to climatic conditions. [1955 c.708 §12; 1959 c.437 §5; 1985 c.617 §2; 1985 c.673 §202; 1987 c.542 §8; 1995 c.367 §3; 1995 c.416 §34; 1997 c.446 §8; 1999 c.453 §2; 2005 c.410 §2]

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.