Appropriation of Water Generally

ORS 537.615
Application for permit to acquire new right or enlarge existing right to appropriate ground water

  • plans and drawings


Any person or public agency intending to acquire a wholly new right to appropriate ground water or to enlarge upon any existing right to appropriate ground water, except for any purpose exempt under ORS 537.545 (Exempt uses), shall apply to the Water Resources Department for and be issued a permit before withdrawing or using the ground water.


The application for a permit shall be in a form prescribed by the department and shall contain:


The name and post-office address of the applicant.


The nature of the use by the applicant of the ground water for which the application is made.


The dates of the beginning and completion of the construction of any well or other means of developing and securing the ground water.


The date when the ground water will be completely applied to the proposed beneficial use.


The amount of ground water claimed.


If the ground water is to be used for irrigation purposes, a description of the lands to be irrigated, giving the number of acres to be irrigated in each 40-acre legal subdivision.


The depth to the water table, if known.


The location of each well with reference to government survey corners or monuments or corners of recorded plats.


The proposed depth, diameter and type of each well, and the kind and amount of the casing.


The estimated capacity of each well and each well pump in gallons per minute, and the horsepower of each well pump motor.


If the ground water is artesian or other ground water not requiring pumping, the rate of flow in gallons in such manner as the Water Resources Commission may prescribe.


If the ground water supply is supplemental to an existing water supply, identification of any application for a permit, permit, certificate or adjudicated right to appropriate water made or held by the applicant.


Any other information as the department considers necessary to evaluate the application.


Each application for a permit shall be accompanied by any maps and drawings the department considers necessary.


The map or drawing required to accompany the application shall be of sufficient quality and scale to establish the location of the proposed point of diversion and the proposed place of use identified by tax lot, township, range, section and nearest quarter-quarter section along with a notation of the acreage of the proposed place of use, if appropriate. In addition, the department shall accept locational coordinate information, including latitude and longitude as established by a global positioning system. If the application is for a water right for a municipal use, the map need not identify the proposed place of use by tax lot.


Each application for a permit to appropriate water shall be accompanied by the examination fee set forth in ORS 536.050 (Fees) (1).


If the proposed use of the water is for a mining operation as defined in ORS 517.952 (Definitions for ORS 517.952 to 517.989), the applicant shall provide the information required under this section as part of the consolidated application under ORS 517.952 (Definitions for ORS 517.952 to 517.989) to 517.989 (Rules applicable to consolidated application).


Notwithstanding any provision of ORS chapter 183, an application for a permit to appropriate ground water shall be processed in the manner set forth in ORS 537.505 (Short title) to 537.795 (ORS 537.505 to 537.795 supplementary). Nothing in ORS chapter 183 shall be construed to allow additional persons to participate in the process. To the extent that any provision in ORS chapter 183 conflicts with a provision set forth in ORS 537.505 (Short title) to 537.795 (ORS 537.505 to 537.795 supplementary), the provisions in ORS 537.505 (Short title) to 537.795 (ORS 537.505 to 537.795 supplementary) shall control. [1955 c.708 §9; 1959 c.437 §3; 1985 c.673 §54; 1987 c.542 §7; 1991 c.735 §34; 1993 c.557 §4; 1995 c.416 §22; 1997 c.446 §6; 1997 c.587 §8; 2013 c.371 §33]
§§ 537.505 to 537.795

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 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