Program to remediate certain domestic water wells
(1)The Water Resources Department shall establish a program for the purpose of replacing, repairing or deepening domestic personal use wells that are affected by declining ground water levels resulting from overallocation of ground water within the Greater Harney Valley Groundwater Area of Concern.
(2)In administering the program, the department:
(a)May enter into contracts, intergovernmental agreements or other arrangements with public or private entities in order to work collaboratively to undertake the actions described in paragraph (b) of this subsection;
(b)May award grants for costs related to the replacement, repair or deepening of the wells or pay the cost of direct services of a water well constructor licensed under ORS 537.747 (Water well constructor’s license) to perform work needed to replace, repair or deepen the wells;
(c)Shall develop a process for applying for a grant or payment;
(d)May require a grantee or recipient of a payment to report to the department on the use of the funds;
(e)Shall biennially review the program and report to the Water Resources Commission on program implementation and outcomes to assess to what extent the purpose described in subsection (1) of this section is being achieved; and
(f)Shall, based on the report, modify the program as necessary to better achieve the purpose described in subsection (1) of this section.
(3)A grant or payment described in subsection (2)(b) of this section may provide:
(a)Up to 75 percent of the total cost of replacing, repairing or deepening the well, not to exceed $10,000 per well for replacement, repair or deepening; and
(b)If determined by the department to be necessary as part of replacing a well, up to $3,500 for the cost of abandoning the replaced well.
(4)In reviewing applications for a grant or payment, the department shall:
(a)Prioritize grants or payments for wells owned by or serving persons of lower or moderate income;
(b)Prioritize grants or payments for wells based on the severity of changes and declines in ground water, as determined by the department; and
(c)Consider other criteria determined by the department to be appropriate.
(5)To be eligible for funding, wells must:
(a)Be domestic personal use wells affected by declining ground water levels within the Greater Harney Valley Groundwater Area of Concern;
(b)Have served domestic personal use at a residence existing as of April 15, 2016; and
(c)Meet other criteria determined by the department.
(6)If replacement of a well is funded in whole or in part under the program, the replaced well must be abandoned.
(7)The Water Resources Commission may adopt rules to implement the program. The commission shall, for purposes of the program, adopt by rule a definition for the term “Greater Harney Valley Groundwater Area of Concern” or maintain in rule a definition for the term that the commission adopted before September 25, 2021. [2021 c.632 §1]
Section 537.743 — Program to remediate certain domestic water wells,