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How do I find out if there is a water right on a particular piece of property?

Researching Water Rights

As detailed above, there are several methods that can be used to determine whether a piece of property has a water right.  The appropriate method depends upon the information you have.  The Department has developed step-by-step instructions to help utilize the Water Right Mapping page.  In order to access the appropriate set of instructions, simply click on the link above that fits your situation.
HINT: The Township, Range, Section and Tax Lot number for a piece of property may be obtained by contacting the County Assessor’s Office and providing them with the physical address of the subject property.
DISCLAIMER: The information reflected in the Water Right Mapping page is derived by interpretations of paper records.  Please refer to the actual water right record for the details on any water right.  Care was taken in the creation of the data but is provided “as is”. The Water Resources Department cannot accept any responsibility for errors, omission, or accuracy of the information.  There are no warranties, expressed or implied, including the warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose, accompanying this information. However, notification of any errors is appreciated by the Department.
To report an error, please send an e-mail detailing the erroneous water right information to: wriserror@wrd.state.or.us
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Method A – Search the OWRD website using the physical address of a property.

“I only know the physical address of the property I want to research.”
1.     Go to the Oregon Water Resources Department’s web page at: http://www.oregon.gov/owrd
2.     Under the Agency Resources heading, scroll down to the Maps section and click on:
(NOTE: You may need to install the free Silverlight program on your computer. It will take a few minutes to install.)
3.     “Accept” the End User License Agreement and Disclaimer to use the Mapping Tool.
(You will only need to do this once.)
4.     In the Search By Location window that appears, click on:  Zoom to Address
5.     Input all of the address information for the subject property (i.e., street address, City, State and Zip Code) and click on: Find
The mapping tool will either:
▪ Automatically zoom to the subject property and show a “push pin” icon to identify the property; or
▪ Provide you with Address Candidates.  If Address Candidates appear, click on the appropriate address to zoom to the subject property. 
Multiple “push pin” icons may appear.  Position your cursor over each of the different “push pin” icons.  As you do this, an address will appear.  Keep checking until you have identified the “push pin” associated with the appropriate address for the subject property.
 
At this time, you should also be able to see street/road names, water features, and the Section # and ¼‑¼ designations.  Boundaries of water rights are identified with colored hatching (i.e., shaded areas with diagonal lines), within which the water right number is identified.
NOTE: If several “push pin” icons are clustered close together, you may need to zoom in on the map in order to space out the “push pin” icons so you can locate the appropriate address.  To zoom in on the map, locate the “+” symbol on the zoom bar positioned just below the compass symbol, located on the left-hand side of the screen.
 
6.     Now that you’ve identified the subject property on the mapping tool, if colored hatching appears, click once on
(the “identify” button) located on the toolbar (see below). Then, immediately click on the colored hatching for the subject property.
 
NOTE:  If no colored hatching appears on the subject property, click What if I can’t find any water rights on the property I am researching?
7.     A box will appear.  It provides information specific to that water right.
To navigate to an actual copy of the water right and the associated final proof survey map for that water right, click on: (Details)
 

8.     A new page titled Water Right Information Query Results will appear.  Under the heading Documents, find the Certificate number and click on: document
This will bring up a pdf image of the water right certificate. (See example below.)
NOTE:  A window titled “File Download” may appear and ask, “Do you want to open or save this file?  Click on the “Open” button and the pdf image of the water right will appear.
Example of Water Right Certificate



 
9.     Next, to bring up a pdf image of the final proof survey map for the water right certificate, click on: paper map  (located just to the right of document.)
This will bring up a pdf image of the final proof survey map. (See example below.)
NOTE:  Again, a window titled “File Download” may appear and ask, “Do you want to open or save this file?  Click on the “Open” button and the pdf image of the final proof survey map will appear.
Example of Final Proof Survey Map
 

If, instead of a final proof survey map, a page indicating “No Final Proof Map Available…” appears, you may wish to either: a) click on “View all scanned documents” located just to the right of the “Documents” heading to check for a final proof survey map; or b) view a copy of the permit map by clicking on: paper map  (located just to the right of document) next to the permit number.
NOTE: The “View all scanned documents” located just to the right of the Documents heading can also be used to check for other scanned documents related to the water right file.  If you click on this link, simply use the “back arrow” to return to the Water Right Information Query Results page.
10.   Comparing the final proof survey map against the map on the Water Right Mapping Tool and a County Tax Lot map can help you confirm whether the water right is, indeed, located on the subject property.
a.     To access a County Tax Lot Map, go to: http://www.ormap.net/index.cfm?opt=maplist
b.     The Taxmap Explorer page will appear. (See below.)
 
c.      Click on the “down arrow” to make a pull down menu of “counties” appear.  Highlight and click on the appropriate county for the subject property.
d.     Next, a list will appear of maps arranged by Township and Range.  Select the map for the Township and Range for the subject property. Then, a list of maps arranged by Township, Range and Section (and sometimes quarter-quarter section) will appear.  Select the appropriate tax lot map for the subject property.
 
 
Now, you can use the tax lot map for the subject property to confirm whether the water right is, indeed, located on the subject property.
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Method B – Search the OWRD website using Township, Range, Section & Tax Lot

“I know the Township, Range, Section and Tax Lot numbers of the property I want to research.”
1.     Go to the Oregon Water Resources Department’s web page at: http://www/oregon.gov/owrd
2.     Under the Agency Resources heading, scroll down to the Maps section and click on:
3.     “Accept” the End User License Agreement and Disclaimer to use the Mapping Tool.
(You will only need to do this once.)
4.     In the Search By Location window, click on:  Zoom to Township/Range/Section
5.     Input the location information as follows:
▪  Township #, indicating North or South;
▪  Range #, indicating East or West; and
▪  Section #                                                                                                                                             
Then, click on: Zoom
6.     The mapping tool will zoom to the location you entered.  You should be able to see street/road names and water features, as well as the Section # and ¼‑¼ designations.  Boundaries of water rights are identified with colored hatching (i.e., shaded areas with diagonal lines), within which the water right number is identified.
 
7.     Locate the subject property.  If colored hatching appears, click on   (the “identify” button) located on the toolbar (see below). Then immediately click on the colored hatching for the subject property.
 
NOTE:  If no colored hatching appears on the subject property, click What if I can’t find any water rights on the property I am researching?
8.     A box will appear.  It provides information specific to that water right.
To navigate to an actual copy of the water right and a final proof survey map for that water right, click on: (Details)
 

9.     A new page titled, Water Right Information Query Results will appear.  Under the heading Documents, find the Certificate number and click on: document
This will bring up a pdf image of the water right certificate. (See example below.)
Example of Water Right Certificate


 
10.   Next, to bring up a pdf image of the final proof survey map for the water right certificate, click on:  paper map  (located just to the right of document.)
This will bring up a pdf image of the final proof survey map. (See example below.)
Example of Final Proof Survey Map
 

If, instead of a final proof survey map, a page indicating “No Final Proof Map Available…” appears, you may wish to either: a) click on “View all scanned documents” located just to the right of the “Documents” heading to check for a final proof survey map; or b) view a copy of the permit map by clicking on: paper map  (located just to the right of document) next to the permit number.
NOTE: The “View all scanned documents” located just to the right of the Documents heading can also be used to check for other scanned documents related to the water right file.  If you click on this link, simply use the “back arrow” to return to the Water Right Information Query Results page.
11.   Comparing the final proof survey map against the map on the Water Right Mapping Tool and a County Tax Lot map can help you confirm whether the water right is, indeed, located on the subject property.
a.     To access a County Tax Lot Map, go to: http://www.ormap.net/index.cfm?opt=maplist
b.     The Taxmap Explorer page will appear. (See below.)
 
c.      Click on the “down arrow” on the pull down menu to select the appropriate county for the subject property.
d.     Next, select the appropriate tax lot map by clicking on the map for the appropriate Township, Range and Section for the subject property.
 
e.     Comparing the final proof survey map against the map on the Water Right Mapping Tool and a County Tax Lot map can help you confirm whether the water right is, indeed, located on the subject property.
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Alternative Water Right Research Methods

“What if I can’t find any water rights for the piece of property I’m researching?”
Most water rights, but not all, are mapped and included in the Water Right Mapping Tool.  If you are not able to find a water right on a piece of property by using the Water Right Mapping Tool, it is recommended that you verify your search results are accurate by either:
·    Accessing the Department’s Plat Card Report utility (to search for water rights by township, range and section);
·    Contacting your local Watermaster; or
·    Contacting the Department’s Customer Service Group in Salem at 503-986-0801.  
 
DISCLAIMER: The information reflected in the Water Right Mapping page is derived by interpretations of paper records.  Please refer to the actual water right record for the details on any water right.  Care was taken in the creation of the data but is provided “as is”. The Water Resources Department cannot accept any responsibility for errors, omission, or accuracy of the information.  There are no warranties, expressed or implied, including the warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose, accompanying this information. However, notification of any errors is appreciated by the Department.
To report an error, please send an e-mail detailing the erroneous water right information to: wriserror@wrd.state.or.us
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