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Groundwater Allocation Rulemaking

The Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) is updating its rules for evaluating and issuing new groundwater rights in a manner that protects existing water uses and manages Oregon's finite water resources sustainably.

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More information about this rulemaking:
To receive updates about this rulemaking:

UPDATE: The public comment period has been extended to June 14, 2024 at 5 p.m.

UPDATED: Public Comment, Public Hearings, & Pre-Hearing Information Sessions – April 4, April 18, May 16, & May 21, 2024

The public comment period has been extended. You may submit comments in writing or attend a public hearing to comment in person. Written comments must be received by June 14, 2024, at 5 p.m.​​ 

Written comments may be submitted to: 

Laura Hartt
Oregon Water Resources Department
725 Summer Street NE, Suite A
Salem, OR 97301  

Public Hearing Dates, Times and Locations 


Date: April 4, 2024
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Place: Deschutes Services Building, 1300 NW Wall Street, Bend, OR 97703   


Date: April 18, 2024
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Place: Eastern Oregon University, Hoke Union Building, Room 339, 1 University Blvd., La Grande, OR 97850  


Date: May 16, 2024 
Time: 7-9 p.m. 
Place: Jackson County Auditorium, 7520 Table Rock Rd., Central Point, OR 97502  


Date: May 21, 2024
Time: 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Place: North Mall Office Building, Room 124, 725 Summer St. NE, Salem, OR 97301 


 2023-2024 Rules Advisory Committee Meeting Materials

Current Groundwater Allocation Process Flowchart - Fig 1 
Current Groundwater Allocation Process Flowchart – Fig 2 

Barlow, P.M., and Leake, S.A., 2012, Streamflow depletion by wells—Understanding and managing the effects of groundwater pumping on streamflow (U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1376).

Bredehoeft, J., 2011, Hydrologic trade-offs in conjunctive use management, (Ground Water 49(4):  468-475)​. 

Cooper, R.M., 2002, Determining Surface Water Availability in Oregon​ (OWRD, Open File Report SW 02-002).

Gannett, M.W., et. ​al., Pischel, E.M., and La Marche, J.L., 2017, Simulation of groundwater and surface-water flow in the upper Deschutes Basin, Oregon (U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2017-5097).

Gleeson et al., 2020, Global Groundwater Sustainability, Resources, and Systems in the Anthropocene (Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Science, 48: 431-463). 

Herrera, N.B., et. al.​, 2014, Simulation of groundwater flow and the interaction of groundwater and surface water in the Willamette Basin and central Willamette Subbasin, Oregon​ (U.S. ​​Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2014-5136).

Jenkins, C.T., 1968, Computation of rate and volume of stream depletion by wells​ (U.S. Geological Survey publication: Techniques of Water-Resources Investigations of the United States Geological Survey, Book 4, Chapter D1).

Winter, T.C. et al., 1998, Ground Water and Surface Water: A Single Resource​ (U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1139).






RAC Member Provided References  

Ahmadalipour, A. et al., 2016, Centennial drought outlook over the CONUS using NASA-NEX downscaled climate ensemble (International Journal of Climatology 37: 2477-2491). 

Aldous, A.R. & Bach, L.B., 2014, Hydro-ecology of groundwater-dependent ecosystems: applying basic science to groundwater management (Hydrological Sciences Journal 59 (3-4): 530-544). 

de Graaf, I.E.M et al., 2019, Environmental flow limits to global groundwater pumping (Nature 574: 90-94). 

Jasechko, S. et al., 2021, Widespread potential loss of streamflow into underlying aquifers across the USA (Nature 591: 391-395). 

Lite, K.E. et al., 2022, Understanding Upper Deschutes Basin Groundwater Levels 

                (White Paper prepared for Central Oregon Cities Organization (COCO) by GSI Water Solutions, Inc.) 

Scheff, J. et al., 2022, Why do the global warming responses of land-surface models and climate dryness metrics disagree? (Earth’s Future 10(8): e2022EF002814). 


RAC Member Provided References 

Alley, W.M., and Leake, S.A., 2004, The Journey from Safe Yield to Sustainability (Ground Water 42(1):12-16). 

Ban, Z. et al., 2020, Understanding the asymmetry of annual streamflow responses to seasonal warming in the Western United States (Water Resources Research 56(12): e2020WR027158).  

Hamed, K.H. and Rao, A.R., 1998, A modified Mann-Kendall trend test for autocorrelated data (Journal of Hydrology 204(1-4):182-196). 

Helsel, D.R. et al., 2020, Statistical methods in water resources (U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, 4-A3, v. 1.1). 

Mankin, J.S. et al., 2019, Mid-latitude freshwater availability reduced by projected vegetation responses to climate change (Nature Geoscience 12: 983–988).  

Mankin, J. S. et al., 2018, Blue water trade-offs with vegetation in a CO2-enriched climate (Geophysical Research Letters 45(7): 3115–3125).  

Mankin, J. S. et al., 2017, The curious case of projected twenty-first-century drying but greening in the American West (Journal of Climate 30(21): 8689–8710).  

Massmann, A. et al., 2019, When does vapor pressure deficit drive or reduce evapotranspiration? (Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems 11(10): 3305–3320).  

Mote, P.W. et al., 2018, Dramatic declines in snowpack in the western US. (npj Climate and Atmospheric Science 1(2)).  

Mucken, A. and Bateman, B. (eds.), 2017, Oregon’s 2017 Integrated Water Resources Strategy (Oregon Water Resources Department. Salem, OR). 

Scheff, J. et al., 2022, Why do the global warming responses of land-surface models and climatic dryness metrics disagree? (Earth's Future 10(8): e2022EF002814).  

Schwalm, C. et al., 2020, RCP8.5 tracks cumulative CO2 emissions (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117(33): 19656-19657).  

Winter, T. C. et al., 1998, Ground water and surface water: A single resource (U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1139).  

Yang, H. et al., 2018, Changing the retention properties of catchments and their influence on runoff under climate change (Environmental Research Letters 13(9): 094019).  

Yue, S., et al., 2002, The influence of autocorrelation on the ability to detect trend in hydrological series (Hydrological Processes 16(9):1807-1829). 

Yue, S. and Wang, C., 2004, The Mann-Kendall test modified by effective sample size to detect trend in serially correlated hydrological series (Water Resources Management 18:201-218). 

Zhang, Y. et al., 2022, Increasing sensitivity of dryland vegetation greenness to precipitation due to rising atmospheric CO2 (Nature Communications 13: 4875 (2022)).