ORS 537.735
Rules designating critical ground water area


A rule adopted by the Water Resources Commission under ORS 537.730 (Designation of critical ground water area) shall:


Define the boundaries of the critical ground water area and shall indicate which of the ground water reservoirs located either in whole or in part within the area in question are included within the critical ground water area. Any number of ground water reservoirs which either wholly or partially overlie one another may be included within the same critical ground water area.


Contain a provision requiring a periodic review of conditions in the critical ground water area. The review shall be in sufficient detail to evaluate the continuing need for the critical ground water area designation and shall occur no less frequently than once every 10 years.


In adopting the rule, the commission shall consider any orders or permits applicable to the reservoir issued by the governing board or State Geologist of the State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries under ORS chapter 522.


A rule by the commission under subsection (1) of this section may include any one or more of the following corrective control provisions:


A provision closing the critical ground water area to any further appropriation of ground water, in which event the commission shall thereafter refuse to accept any application for a permit to appropriate ground water located within such critical area.


A provision determining the permissible total withdrawal of ground water in the critical area each day, month or year.


The disposition of any application for a water right permit for the use of water in the area that is pending at the time the commission initiates the rulemaking process or that is received during the rulemaking process.


Any one or more provisions making such additional requirements as are necessary to protect the public welfare, health and safety in accordance with the intent, purposes and requirements of ORS 537.505 (Short title) to 537.795 (ORS 537.505 to 537.795 supplementary) and 537.992 (Civil penalties).


A provision closing all or part of the critical ground water area to further appropriation of ground water for its thermal characteristics.


A provision determining the permissible change in thermal characteristics of ground water in all or part of the critical ground water area each day, month or year. Insofar as may be reasonably done, the Water Resources Director shall apportion the permissible total temperature impact among those appropriators whose exercise of valid rights in the critical area affect the thermal characteristics of the ground water, in accordance with the relative dates of priority of such rights. [1955 c.708 §27; 1981 c.589 §6; 1981 c.919 §1; 1985 c.673 §63; 1989 c.201 §5; 1991 c.400 §5]

Notes of Decisions

This section does not require that critical ground water area contain an entire ground water reservoir; it is sufficient that boundaries of area can be defined and that director indicates which reservoirs are contained within it. Doherty v. Oregon Water Resources Director, 92 Or App 22, 758 P2d 865 (1988), as modified by 93 Or App 354, 762 P2d 330, aff’d 308 Or 543, 783 P2d 519 (1989)

Where Water Resources Director finds that public welfare, health and safety require corrective controls and director made findings of fact that satisfied statutory standards which director properly interpreted and applied, director’s findings and justification for order establishing Butter Creek Critical Ground Water Area were sufficient. Doherty v. Oregon Water Resources Director, 308 Or 543, 783 P2d 519 (1989)

Law Review Citations

47 WLR 405 (2011)

§§ 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)

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May. 15, 2020