Oregon Statutes - Chapter 540 - Distribution of Water; Watermasters; Change in Use, Transfer or Forfeiture of Water Rights - Section 540.350 - Dams, dikes and other hydraulic works; examination and approval by commission; responsibility of owners; inspections; modification of works; hearing.

(1) No person, firm or private or municipal corporation shall construct any dam, dike, or other hydraulic structure or works, the failure of which the Water Resources Commission finds would result in damage to life or property, unless the commission has made an examination of the site and of the plans and specifications and other features involved in the construction of such works, and has approved them in writing.

(2) When a person, firm or private or municipal corporation seeks the written approval of the Water Resources Commission, of the site, plans, specifications and features for a dam more than 25 feet high at a site where there is an average annual flow exceeding two cubic feet a second, that party must demonstrate that the dam includes measures that make it readily adaptable to power generation in a manner meeting statutory requirements for the safe passage of fish. These measures shall include the installation of a pressure conduit, penstock, drain or similar water diversion system at the time the dam is built.

(3) A person, firm or private or municipal corporation seeking approval for a dam described in subsection (2) of this section need not make the showing required by that subsection if that party demonstrates to the commissionís satisfaction that:

(a) It is not likely the installation of hydroelectric generating facilities at the proposed site would be feasible anytime during the life of the proposed dam; or

(b) It would be more feasible to install hydroelectric facilities after construction of the proposed dam.

(4) The commissionís approval of the site, plans and specifications, or other features involved in the construction, maintenance and operation of any hydraulic works whatsoever shall not relieve the owners of their legal responsibilities.

(5) The commission may make inspections of any hydraulic structure, the site thereof, and of the plans and specifications, and any other features involved in the construction, maintenance and operation of the works. If, as a result of the inspections, the commission considers any modifications necessary to insure the safety of the works with reference to possible damage to life or property, the commission shall notify the legal owners by registered mail or by certified mail with return receipt, stating why the works are unsafe. The notice shall set forth the modifications necessary to insure the safety of the works in so far as it affects possible damage to life or property. The notice also shall set a hearing at a time and place as will give the owners a reasonable time to prepare for the hearing. [Amended by 1981 c.210 §1; 1985 c.673 §88; 1991 c.249 §51]

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Last modified: August 7, 2008