ORS 537.730¹
Designation of critical ground water area
  • rules
  • notice

(1) The Water Resources Commission by rule may designate an area of the state a critical ground water area if:

(a) Ground water levels in the area in question are declining or have declined excessively;

(b) The Water Resources Department finds a pattern of substantial interference between wells within the area in question;

(c) The department finds a pattern of interference or potential interference between wells of ground water claimants or appropriators within the area in question with the production of geothermal resources from an area regulated under ORS chapter 522;

(d) The department finds a pattern of substantial interference between wells within the area in question and:

(A) An appropriator of surface water whose water right has an earlier priority date; or

(B) A restriction imposed on surface water appropriation or a minimum perennial streamflow that has an effective date earlier than the priority date of the ground water appropriation;

(e) The available ground water supply in the area in question is being or is about to be overdrawn;

(f) The purity of the ground water in the area in question has been or reasonably may be expected to become polluted to an extent contrary to the public welfare, health and safety; or

(g) Ground water temperatures in the area in question are expected to be, are being or have been substantially altered except as specified in ORS 537.796 (Rules regarding low temperature geothermal appropriations).

(2) The proceeding to designate a critical ground water area shall be conducted according to the provisions under ORS chapter 183 applicable to the adoption of rules by an agency, except that a hearing on a critical ground water declaration shall occur at least 60 days after notice has been given.

(3) In addition to the notice requirements under ORS 183.335 (Notice), the department shall give notice by regular mail to:

(a) The owners of record of all ground water registrations, permits and certificates for water use within the affected area; and

(b) Each water well constructor licensed under ORS 537.747 (Water well constructor’s license).

(4) If the department satisfies the notice requirements under ORS 183.335 (Notice) and subsection (3) of this section, a person shall not contest a critical ground water area designation on grounds of failure to receive notice by regular mail. [1955 c.708 §26; 1957 c.341 §8; 1981 c.589 §5; 1985 c.673 §62; 1987 c.442 §1; 1989 c.201 §4; 1991 c.400 §4]

Notes of Decisions

The written notice of hearing re­quired under this sec­tion must be sent by registered or certified mail. Campbell Ranch, Inc. v. Water Resources Dept., 28 Or App 243, 558 P2d 1295 (1977)

Notice of hearing, which did not refer ex­plic­itly to wa­ter supply in area being or about to be overdrawn, was adequate to advise peti­tioners of statutory pro­vi­sions on which director would rely in making critical ground wa­ter area determina­tion. Doherty v. Oregon Water Resources Director, 92 Or App 22, 758 P2d 865 (1988), as modified by 93 Or App 354, 762 P2d 330, aff’d 308 Or 543, 783 P2d 519 (1989)

Where Water Resources Director finds that public welfare, health and safety require corrective controls and director made findings of fact that satisfied statutory standards which director properly interpreted and applied, director’s findings and justifica­tion for order es­tab­lishing Butter Creek Critical Ground Water Area were sufficient. Doherty v. Oregon Water Resources Director, 308 Or 543, 783 P2d 519 (1989)

Law Review Cita­tions

21 EL 18 (1991); 40 EL 141 (2010); 47 WLR 405 (2011)

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 (2019) (last ac­cessed May 16, 2020).
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2019, Chapter 537, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano537.­html (2019) (last ac­cessed May 16, 2020).
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. Currency Information