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Finding Water Rights
determining if you have a water right
All legally established water rights, whether they are under permits, undetermined claims through ground water registration or vested right statements, or certificated rights, are on record in the Salem office of the Water Resources Department. Records of water rights are also maintained in the local watermasters’ offices. Contact the Department or your watermaster to determine if there are water rights of record for property you own or want to purchase. You may need to pay a fee if you want the Department to research and copy water right files. Please contact the Department to obtain a current fee schedule or look on the web at www.wrd.state.or.us.
You will need to provide a copy of the legal description or a current county assessor’s tax lot map of the property. If the property lies within a platted and recorded subdivision, a copy of the recorded plat should accompany the legal description. Any maps submitted need to include the township, range, and section of the property involved and have a reference corner such as a section corner.
You might also find the Department’s online interactive mapping utility to be helpful in locating water rights. It can be found at www.wrd.state.or.us.
Keep in mind that while the Department or watermaster can tell you if there is a water right on file for your tract of land, they cannot guarantee that the water has been used continuously and that the right is not subject to cancellation. If you intend to purchase property with a water right of record, it is a good idea to check with neighbors of the property owner to see whether the water right went unused for five consecutive years over the last 15 years.
Commission and Department
1. Oregon Water Laws
water management in Oregon
2. Protections and Restrictions
managing water appropriations
3. New Water Rights
gaining authorization to use water
4. Other Water Rights
authorization for water use
5. Transferring Rights
existing rights for new users
6. Canceling Rights
loss of water rights through non-use
7. Conservation
encouraging efficient water use
8. Finding Water Rights
determining if you have a water right
9. Enforcing Water Laws
watermasters and field staff protecting rights and resources
10. Region Managers and Offices
11. Fees
Appendix A
other development permits
Water Measurement Conversions