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Water-Related Bills Enacted in 2003
HB 2210
Well Construction
Establishes an increase in the bonding level of a licensed contractor from $4,000 to $10,000 and for landowners constructing their own well from $2,000 to $5,000. Effective January 1, 2004.
HB 2268
Increases the Department's statutorily established fees and establishes fees for transactions that previously did not require a fee (instream leases, allocations of conserved water, submittal of a water management and conservation plan). Increased transaction fees will support the Department's current service capability for water right application processing and will add resources (3 Limited Duration Positions) to address the water right transfer backlog and workload associated with instream leases and review of water management and conservation plans. Start Card fee increase effective upon passage; all other fees effective October 1, 2003.
HB 2456
Allocation of Conserved Water
Makes a number of minor modifications to allocation of conserved water statutes to add flexibility and clarity. Makes permanent the current ability of an applicant to choose the priority date of the conserved water rights - same as or one minute junior to the originating right. Makes permanent the provisions allowing consideration of projects implemented up to 5 years prior to the application for an allocation of conserved water. Substitutes "certificate" and "decree" with "water use subject to transfer" in the description of the types of rights that can be involved in an application for allocation of conserved water. Substitutes "conservation proposal" with "conservation application" to clarify that the Department is reviewing applications to allocate conserved water, not approving or denying specific conservation projects which are under the control of the applicant. Effective upon passage.        

HB 2551
Receipts Authority
Provides authority for the Department and water users to enter into voluntary agreements to expedite processing of various applications and transactions. Under these agreements the Department will collect fees to cover the full cost of expedited processing. The Department will use the fees in an agreement to hire temporary staff and outsource process services and functions. Sunsets January 2, 2006. Effective January 1, 2004.
HB 2945
HB 2945 Surface Mine Dewatering
Clarifies the jurisdiction of the Water Resources Department and the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI) as it relates to the removal of water from a surface mine. Provides explicit tools for DOGAMI to use for protection of the state's ground water resources and existing water users in consultation with WRD and the mining permittee. Clarifies under what circumstances a water right permit would be needed for mine dewatering. Effective January 1, 2004. https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2003R1/Measures/Overview/HB2945    

HB 3201
Walla Walla River Irrigation District
HB 3111 (1989) and SB 129 (1993) established a process to petition the Water Resources Commission for approval of an irrigation district map clarifying the location and use of water rights within the district. Under current law, all re-mapping petitions were to be submitted by July 1, 1994. This bill provides the Walla Walla River Irrigation District the opportunity to utilize this tool that was available to other irrigation districts in the past. Effective January 1, 2004.  https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2003R1/Measures/Overview/HB3201    

SB 82
Occupying State Owned Land
Provides express permission for irrigation and domestic use water users to occupy state-owned submersible land for the construction, maintenance, and operation of structures and facilities necessary for the use of water. Alleviates potential cancellation concerns related to certain water right permits and also streamlines the permitting process for some new water right permit applicants. Effective January 1, 2004
SB 820
Water Right Transfers and Wastewater Reuse
SB 820 contains elements of four water bills from this session: HB 3281 regarding temporary transfers in irrigation districts; HB 3047 regarding wastewater reuse in urban areas; and HB 3215 and HB 3217, both regarding water right transfers in the Deschutes Basin.
The provisions regarding temporary transfers in irrigation districts provides qualifying districts additional tools and flexibility to manage water within district boundaries (e.g. temporary changes to point of diversion, place of use, and primary right to supplemental right) and establishes a "pilot project" that streamlines the process for making "place of use" changes without diminishing protections to existing water rights.
The provisions that encourages the reuse of wastewater in urban areas as a means of conserving potable water is a recognition that the reuse of wastewater is an important element in a strategy to develop a diverse, multi-source approach to meeting the state's water supply needs.
Finally, the provisions regarding water right transfers in the Deschutes Basin provide, under certain circumstance, for the transfer of surface water rights to ground water rights and the temporary transfer of irrigation water rights to municipal use.
Entire bill effective upon passage.