Appropriation of Water Generally

ORS 537.250
Water right certificate

  • issuance
  • inclusion of land not described in permit
  • recordation
  • duration of rights


After the Water Resources Department has received a request for issuance of a water right certificate accompanied by the survey required under ORS 537.230 (Time allowed for construction of irrigation or other work) that shows, to the satisfaction of the department, that an appropriation has been perfected in accordance with the provisions of the Water Rights Act, except as provided in subsection (4) of this section, the department shall issue to the applicant a certificate of the same character as that described in ORS 539.140 (Water right certificates). The certificate shall be recorded and transmitted to the applicant as provided in that section.


When issuing a water right certificate under this section in the name of a district as defined in ORS 540.505 (Definitions), or in the name of a government agency for a district, the department may issue the water right certificate for land not described in the permit in accordance with ORS 537.252 (Certificate issued for land not described in permit).


Rights to the use of water acquired under the provisions of the Water Rights Act, as set forth in a certificate issued under this section, shall continue in the owner thereof so long as the water shall be applied to a beneficial use under and in accordance with the terms of the certificate, subject only to loss:


By nonuse as specified and provided in ORS 540.610 (Use as measure of water right); or


As provided in ORS 537.297 (Cancellation of water right certificate when holder fails to continue to qualify as municipal applicant).


The department may not issue a water right certificate for municipal use under this section if:


An extension of time is required; and


The order approving the extension of time has not become final by operation of law or on appeal. [Amended by 1985 c.392 §11; 1985 c.673 §191; 1987 c.542 §6; 1989 c.509 §6; 1995 c.218 §3; 1995 c.365 §5; 1995 c.416 §21a; 2005 c.410 §3; 2017 c.704 §2]

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Public right to use artificial lake created for recreation on a nonnavigable stream on privately owned land, (1972) Vol 35, p 1202; storage rights to store water for later beneficial use are not subordinate to later priority direct use rights unless made so by explicit conditions imposed on storage right, (1989) Vol 46, p 290

Law Review Citations

33 EL 1019 (2003); 36 EL 1383 (2006)

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 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)


Last accessed
Jun. 26, 2021