Water Resources Administration

ORS 536.310
Purposes and policies to be considered in formulating state water resources program

In formulating the water resources program under ORS 536.300 (Formulation of state water resources program) (2), the Water Resources Commission shall take into consideration the purposes and declarations enumerated in ORS 536.220 (Policy on water resources generally) and also the following additional declarations of policy:


Existing rights, established duties of water, and relative priorities concerning the use of the waters of this state and the laws governing the same are to be protected and preserved subject to the principle that all of the waters within this state belong to the public for use by the people for beneficial purposes without waste;


It is in the public interest that integration and coordination of uses of water and augmentation of existing supplies for all beneficial purposes be achieved for the maximum economic development thereof for the benefit of the state as a whole;


That adequate and safe supplies be preserved and protected for human consumption, while conserving maximum supplies for other beneficial uses;


Multiple-purpose impoundment structures are to be preferred over single-purpose structures; upstream impoundments are to be preferred over downstream impoundments. The fishery resource of this state is an important economic and recreational asset. In the planning and construction of impoundment structures and milldams and other artificial obstructions, due regard shall be given to means and methods for its protection;


Competitive exploitation of water resources of this state for single-purpose uses is to be discouraged when other feasible uses are in the general public interest;


In considering the benefits to be derived from drainage, consideration shall also be given to possible harmful effects upon ground water supplies and protection of wildlife;


The maintenance of minimum perennial streamflows sufficient to support aquatic life, to minimize pollution and to maintain recreation values shall be fostered and encouraged if existing rights and priorities under existing laws will permit;


Watershed development policies shall be favored, whenever possible, for the preservation of balanced multiple uses, and project construction and planning with those ends in view shall be encouraged;


Due regard shall be given in the planning and development of water recreation facilities to safeguard against pollution;


It is of paramount importance in all cooperative programs that the principle of the sovereignty of this state over all the waters within the state be protected and preserved, and such cooperation by the commission shall be designed so as to reinforce and strengthen state control;


Local development of watershed conservation, when consistent with sound engineering and economic principles, is to be promoted and encouraged;


When proposed uses of water are in mutually exclusive conflict or when available supplies of water are insufficient for all who desire to use them, preference shall be given to human consumption purposes over all other uses and for livestock consumption, over any other use, and thereafter other beneficial purposes in such order as may be in the public interest consistent with the principles of chapter 707, Oregon Laws 1955, under the existing circumstances; and


Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, when available supplies of water are insufficient in the South Umpqua River to provide for both the needs of human consumption pursuant to a municipal water right and the maintenance of previously established minimum streamflows, preference shall be given to the municipal needs if the municipality adopts and enforces an ordinance restricting use of the water so obtained to direct human consumption uses. [1955 c.707 §10(3); 1979 c.170 §1; 1987 c.546 §1]
Note: The Legislative Counsel has not, pursuant to 173.160 (Powers and duties of Legislative Counsel in preparing editions for publication), undertaken to substitute specific ORS references for the words “chapter 707, Oregon Laws 1955,” in 536.310 (Purposes and policies to be considered in formulating state water resources program) and 536.330 (Water Resources Act as supplemental to and including existing statutes). Chapter 707, Oregon Laws 1955, enacted into law and amended the ORS sections which may be found by referring to the 1955 Comparative Section Table located in Volume 22 of Oregon Revised Statutes.

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Right to use water for human and livestock consumption although such use results in reducing stream flow below minimum standards, (1973) Vol 36, p 420; Water Policy Review Board's authority to grant city exemption from minimum perennial streamflow for irrigation, (1980) Vol 40, p 202

Law Review Citations

21 EL 133 (1991)

§§ 536.300 to 536.340

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Authority of the State Water Resources Board to reclassify the waters of the Middle Snake Basin, (1972) Vol 36, p 250; authority of Water Policy Review Board to formulate integrated, coordinated program for water of Upper Klamath River Basin, (1979) Vol 39, p 748; Effect of minimum perennial stream flow requirements, (1982) Vol 42, p 312

§§ 536.210 to 536.550

Law Review Citations

4 EL 333 (1974); 11 EL 390 (1981)

Chapter 536

Law Review Citations

28 WLR 285 (1992)


Last accessed
Jun. 26, 2021