Distribution and Storage of Water

ORS 540.045
Watermaster duties


Each watermaster shall:


Regulate the distribution of water among the various users of water from any natural surface or ground water supply in accordance with the users’ existing water rights of record in the Water Resources Department.


Upon the request of the users, distribute water among the various users under any partnership ditch, pipeline or well or from any reservoir, in accordance with the users’ existing water rights of record in the department.


Divide the waters of the natural surface and ground water sources and other sources of water supply among the canals, ditches, pumps, pipelines and reservoirs taking water from the source for beneficial use, by regulating, adjusting and fastening the headgates, valves or other control works at the several points of diversion of surface water or the several points of appropriation of ground water, according to the users’ relative entitlements to water.


Attach to the headgate, valve or other control works the watermaster regulates under paragraph (c) of this subsection, a written notice dated and signed by the watermaster, setting forth that the headgate, valve or other control works has been properly regulated and is wholly under the control of the watermaster.


Perform any other duties the Water Resources Director may require.


When a watermaster must rely on a well log or other documentation to regulate the use or distribution of ground water, the regulation shall be in accordance with ORS 537.545 (Exempt uses) (4).


For purposes of regulating the distribution or use of water, any stored water released in excess of the needs of water rights calling on that stored water shall be considered natural flow, unless the release is part of a water exchange under the control of, and approved by, the watermaster.


As used in this section, “existing water rights of record” includes all completed permits, certificates, licenses and ground water registration statements filed under ORS 537.605 (Registration of right to appropriate ground water claimed under ORS 537.585 or 537.595) and related court decrees. [1985 c.421 §3; 1989 c.691 §15; 1991 c.102 §11; 1993 c.157 §5; 1995 c.673 §3; 2009 c.819 §3]

Notes of Decisions

Watermaster's determination of permit limits constitutes final agency action by Water Resources Department. Teel Irrigation District v. Water Resources Dept., 323 Or 663, 919 P2d 1172 (1996)

Chapter 540

Law Review Citations

11 EL 390 (1981)


Last accessed
Jun. 26, 2021