Oregon Statutes - Chapter 540 - Distribution of Water; Watermasters; Change in Use, Transfer or Forfeiture of Water Rights - Section 540.430 - Nonpayment by ditch coowner; lien on interest; foreclosure; stoppage of water delivery.

(1) Upon the failure of any coowner to pay a proportionate share of the expense, as mentioned in ORS 540.420, within 30 days after receiving a statement of the same as performed by the coowner, the latter may secure payment of the claim by filing an itemized and sworn statement thereof, setting forth the date of performance and the nature of the labor performed, with the county clerk of the county wherein the ditch is situated. When so filed it shall constitute a valid lien against the interest of the person in default, which lien may be established and enforced in the same manner as provided by law for the enforcement of mechanicís liens.

(2) In lieu of proceeding to enforce the lien, the person performing the labor may file an itemized and sworn statement with the watermaster of the district within which the ditch is located, setting forth the date of performance, the nature of the labor performed, the total expense incurred by the person and the proportion of the expense each owner should pay, together with a written request that the watermaster take charge of the distribution of the water from the ditch to the parties entitled to the use thereof. Thereupon the watermaster may proceed to distribute the water in accordance with established rights. However, if an owner or user has not paid the proportion of expenses of the owner or user incurred for the proper maintenance and operation of the ditch, the watermaster may serve such party with written notice, personally, by registered mail or by certified mail with return receipt, setting forth the proportion of expenses incurred for which the owner or user is obligated to pay. If the party so served refuses or neglects to pay that part of the expense within 10 days after the serving or mailing of the notice, the watermaster may refuse to deliver water to be used upon the lands of such person until after the expense has been paid. [Amended by 1991 c.249 §52]

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Last modified: August 7, 2008