Any corporation organized for the construction, maintenance or operation of any railway may acquire, hold and appropriate to its use for railway purposes any waters within the state. The appropriation may be accomplished by the procedure provided by ORS 537.130 (Permit to appropriate water required) and 537.140 (Application for permit) to 537.252 (Certificate issued for land not described in permit). A railway corporation may acquire by purchase, gift or devise, or by condemnation as provided in subsection (2) of this section, any water rights owned by any person and the rights of other persons affected by change of place or character of use of the water rights. Upon acquisition of the water rights by the corporation the right shall be severed from the land of the grantor and simultaneously transferred and become appurtenant to the operating property of the railway corporation, without losing the priority of the water right as originally established.
Any such corporation may condemn and appropriate for railway operating purposes the rights of any private appropriator of waters within the state. The right of condemnation shall be exercised in the same manner as other property is condemned and appropriated for railway purposes; provided, that no water right so condemned shall exceed two cubic feet per second.
Upon satisfactory proof of the acquisition of water rights by any such corporation through purchase, gift, devise or condemnation, the Water Resources Commission shall issue to the corporation a certificate of the same character as that described in ORS 539.140 (Water right certificates), which shall be recorded and transmitted to the corporation, as provided in that section. All certificates of water rights issued before May 29, 1925, by the Board of Control or the Water Resources Director to any such corporation shall be sufficient in law to convey to the corporation the water rights described in the certificates, and such certificates shall be received in evidence in all courts in this state. [Amended by 1985 c.673 §40]