Under Oregon law, all water is publicly owned. With some exceptions, cities, farmers, factory owners and other users must obtain a permit or water right from the Water Resources Department to use water from any source— whether it is underground, or from lakes or streams. Landowners with water flowing past, though, or under their property do not automatically have the right to use that water without a permit from the Department.
New wells constructed in the State of Oregon that do not require a Water Right are subject to a one-time recording fee of $300 (for a list of these exemptions see ORS 537.545). The well constructor is responsible for submitting the recording fee and a map of the location of the well on the property. When a water supply well is constructed by a landowner with a landowner permit and bond, the landowner will be responsible for paying the recording fee and submitting the map. The map and fee are due at the time of well report submittal.
What is the Purpose of the Recording Fee and Map?
The purpose of the recording fee and map is to support the management of groundwater resources throughout the state.
This is accomplished in the following ways:
- The map shows the location of the well within the tax lot, which is valuable information to the Department and other individuals looking for data about groundwater in specific areas of the state.
- The recording fee is intended to support research, including evaluation of groundwater supplies, conducting groundwater studies, carrying out groundwater monitoring, and processing groundwater data.