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

Researching Water Rights

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 Rights Mapping page.  In order to access the appropriate set of instructions, simply click on the link below that fits your situation.
Search by the physical address of a property
Search by Township, Range & Section

NOTE: The Township, Range, Section and Tax Lot 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.
 
What if I can’t find any water rights on the property I am researching?

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.”

​Go to the Oregon Water Resources Department’s web page at: www.oregon.gov/OWRD

​Under the Agency Resources heading, scroll down to the Maps section and click on Water Rights Mapping Tool

​NOTE: You may need to install the free JavaScript program on your computer.

​1. “Agree” to the End User License Agreement and Disclaimer to use the Water Rights Mapping Tool. (You will only need to do this once.)

​NOTE: Basic instructions on how to use the Water Rights Mapping Tool can be located by clicking the user guide link in the upper right corner of the mapping tool.

​2. Enter the complete address (i.e., street address, City, State and Zip Code) in the Zoom to Location box in the upper right corner of the screen (see red arrow below).  Click on the magnifying glass or press enter on the keyboard to zoom to the desired address.

​The mapping tool will zoom to the approximate location of the subject property address.  At this time, you may be able to see street/road names, water features, and the Section number.  It may be necessary to zoom out slightly to see the quarter-quarter designations.  Boundaries of water rights are identified with colored hachuring, within which the water right number is identified.

​3. If colored hachuring overlays all or a portion of the subject property, use the Identify button (located in the Search box, see below) to identify the specific water right.  Click the Identify button and then immediately draw a box on or surrounding the colored hatching for the subject property.

​NOTE:  If no colored hachuring appears on the subject property, click What if I can’t find any water rights on the property I am researching?

​4. Information specific to the water right(s) selected will appear under the “POU” tab in the Water Rights Query output table at the bottom of the screen (click on the "POU" tab next to the "POD" tab).  Selecting an entry in the table, by clicking on a row, will identify the place of use (POU) with a red dotted line for that right on the map.

​5. To view a copy of an actual water right document and associated final proof survey map (if available), select the (Details) link in the WRIS column, in the row for a specific water right.  This will open a new tab in your web browser titled Water Rights Information Query Results.

​6. Most actions affecting the water right are listed under the heading Documents (in the upper right quarter of the page).  Next to the Certificate number (or permit number if not certificated) may be the hyperlinks: document and/or paper map; selecting either will open the corresponding pdf image (See example below).

​Not all water right documents are available online.  If you can’t find the document you are looking for you should visit, or contact, the local Watermaster or Salem office.

​NOTE: A pop up window may appear and ask, “Do you want to open or save this file?”, Click on the “Open” button and the pdf image of the document will appear.  

Example: Water Right Certificate ​Example: Final Proof Survey Map




​7. Confirm that you have found a water right on the correct subject property by comparing the final proof survey map to the Water Rights Mapping Tool results and the County Tax Lot map.  County Tax Lot Maps are located at: http://www.ormap.net/index.cfm?opt=maplist.  Clicking this link will cause the ORMAP Taxmap Explorer page to appear in a new tab (See below).  To find the Tax Lot map for the subject property, do the following:

​a) Click on the pull down menu to select the county of the subject property.

​b) Next, a list of applicable Township and Range locations within the selected county will appear.  Select the Township and Range encompassing the subject property. 

​c) Then, a list of pdf maps arranged by Township, Range and Section (and sometimes quarter-quarter section) will appear.  Select the most specific tax lot map available for the subject property.

d) Now, you can use the tax lot map 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

► “I know the Township, Range, Section and Tax Lot 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 Water Rights Mapping Tool

​NOTE: : You may need to install the free JavaScript program on your computer.

​3. “Agree” to the End User License Agreement and Disclaimer to use the Water Rights Mapping Tool.  (You will only need to do this once.)

​NOTE: Basic instructions on how to use the Water Rights Mapping Tool can be located by clicking the user guide link in the upper right corner of the mapping tool.

​4. In the Search box (in the upper left corner of the screen), under Select Search Method select the TRS radio button. 

​5. Under Public Land Survey System, input the location information as follows:

​    a) Township number, indicating North or South;

​    b) Range number, indicating East or West; and

​    c) Section number (optional)

​Then click the magnifying glass to zoom to the TRS location.

​6. If colored hachuring overlays all or a portion of the subject property, use the Identify button (located in the Search box, see below) to identify the specific water right.  Click the Identify button and then immediately draw a box on or surrounding the colored hatching for the subject property.

NOTE:  If no colored hachuring appears on the subject property, click What if I can’t find any  water rights on the property I am researching?

​7. Information specific to the water right(s) selected will appear under the “POU” tab in the Water Rights Query output table at the bottom of the screen (click on the "POU" tab next to the "POD" tab).  Selecting an entry in the table, by clicking on a row, will identify the place of use (POU) with a red dotted line for that right on the map.

8. To view a copy of an actual water right document and associated final proof survey map (if available), select the (Details) link in the WRIS column, in the row for a specific water right.  This will open a new tab in your web browser titled Water Rights Information Query Results.

​9. Most actions affecting the water right are listed under the heading Documents (in the upper right quarter of the page).  Next to the Certificate number (or permit number if not certificated) may be the hyperlinks: document and/or paper map; selecting either will open the corresponding pdf image (See example below).

​Not all water right documents are available online.  If you can’t find the document you are looking for you should visit, or contact, the local Watermaster or Salem office.

​NOTE:  A pop up window may appear and ask, “Do you want to open or save this file?”.  Click on the “Open” button and the pdf image of the document will appear.

Example: Water Right Certificate ​Example: Final Proof Survey Map






​10. Confirm that you have found a water right on the correct subject property by comparing the final proof survey map to the Water Rights Mapping Tool results and the County Tax Lot map.  County Tax Lot Maps are located at: http://www.ormap.net/index.cfm?opt=maplist. Clicking on this link will cause the ORMAP Taxmap Explorer page to appear (See below).  To find the Tax Lot map for the subject property, do the following:

​a) Click on the pull down menu to select the county of the subject property.

​b) Next, a list of applicable Township and Range locations within the selected county will appear.  Select the Township and Range encompassing the subject property. 

​c) Then, a list of pdf maps arranged by Township, Range and Section (and sometimes quarter-quarter section) will appear.  Select the most specific tax lot map available for the subject property.

​Now, you can use the tax lot map to confirm whether the water right is, indeed, located on the subject property.




 
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Alternative Water Rights 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 Rights Mapping Tool.  If the POU isn’t clearly described by the certificate, a diamond shape (also known as a poly-point), will indicate that there is a water right located somewhere in in the quarter-quarter of interest. 

​If, after trying Method A and/or Method B, you are not able to find a water right on a subject property by using the Water Rights Mapping Tool, it is recommended that you verify your search results are accurate by:
​• Accessing the Department’s Plat Card Report utility (to search for water rights by township, range and section);

​​• Contacting the Department’s Customer Service Group in Salem at 503-986-0801; or

​• Contacting your local Watermaster.

​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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