Oregon Water Resources Department

Rule Rule 690-340-0010
Exempt Uses

The uses of water listed below do not require a water right permit under ORS 537.211 (Issuance of permit if application approved) or a water right certificate under 537.250 (Water right certificate):


The statutory exemptions from permit requirements for use of groundwater include watering any lawn or noncommercial garden not exceeding 12 acre in area. Not more than 12 acre of lawn and noncommercial garden in total area may be irrigated through a group delivery system under such exemption. The statutory exemptions from permit and certificate requirements for use of groundwater include:


Stockwater use;


Lawn or non-commercial garden watering of not more than 12 acre in total can be irrigated from any groundwater source under the exemptions listed in ORS 537.545 (Exempt uses)(1)(b);


Single or group domestic water uses of no more than 15,000 gallons per day;


Industrial or commercial water uses not exceeding 5,000 gallons per day based on peak daily use. A commercial or industrial operation shall be allowed only one well system and exemption under ORS 537.545 (Exempt uses)(1)(f) on each ownership or tax lot, whichever is larger.


The statutory exemptions from permit and certificate requirements for use of surface water include:


Use of waste, spring or seepage waters which are exempt under ORS 537.800 (Waste, spring and seepage waters);


Water used for egg incubation projects under the Salmon and Trout Enhancement Program (STEP);


Fish screens, fishways and fish by-pass structures. A fish screen, fish way or fish by-pass structure is an exempt use if it either:


Is part of a hydroelectric project permitted or licensed by the Department; or


Is found to not be harmful to fish or wildlife after consultation with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and causes no injury to existing water rights.


Water uses that divert water to water tanks or troughs from a reservoir for a use allowed under an existing water permit or certificate for the reservoir;


Reservoirs that store less than 9.2 acre feet of water or with a dam less than 10 feet in height; that are located off-channel and outside the immediate riparian area; that do not divert water directly from a natural stream, lake or other on-channel source; that were constructed before January 1, 1993; and for which a written notice is submitted under section (4) of this rule.


Water used for emergency firefighting is exempt from permit and certificate requirements regardless of the source of water.


To qualify as an exempt water use under subsection (2)(e) of this rule, the landowner shall provide written notice of the use to the Department on or before January 1, 1995. Such notice shall be on a form provided by the Department and signed and verified by the owner of the land or the owner’s authorized agent upon which the reservoir is located. The notice shall include the following:


The volume of water stored;


The source of the water used to fill the reservoir;


The height of the dam measured at its highest point above natural ground elevation;


A U.S. Geological Survey topographic map or a tax lot map showing the location of the reservoir;


Evidence that the reservoir existed on or before January 1, 1993 as described in OAR 690-340-0020 (Ponds in Existence Prior to January 1, 1993 (HB 2153, 1993)); and


A statement describing the off-channel nature of the reservoir.


The Commission may require other information from the landowner regarding an exempt use including, but not limited to, estimates of the quantity of water used; diversion location; place of use; or photographs showing the scale of the project and the immediate area above, below and surrounding a reservoir.

Last accessed
Jun. 8, 2021