(1) Upon compliance with this section and ORS 540.574 and 540.576, whenever land within the legal boundaries of a district is no longer irrigated or susceptible of irrigation, the district may apply the certificated water to which such land is entitled to other irrigable lands within the legal boundaries of the district if the district:
(a) Is managed by a full-time manager; and
(b) Is implementing a conservation plan approved by the Water Resources Commission, and meets all other management responsibility criteria for districts and conservation and efficiency criteria required by the Water Resources Commission.
(2) If a water user of a district has not made beneficial use of the water to which the user is entitled for a period of four successive years, the district shall advise the user and any security interest holder of record that if the user does not use the water for a fifth successive year, the district may petition the Water Resources Commission for a transfer of the water right under ORS 540.574.
(3) When a district wishes to transfer the use of water under this section, the district shall provide notice of its intent to petition for a transfer to the user and any security interest holder of record of the land whose right of record would be transferred. The notice shall be sent to the last-known address for the user with a return receipt requested.
(4) The notice required under subsection (3) of this section shall:
(A) The number of acres for which the user is being charged or assessed;
(B) A general description or tax lot of the land to which the water is assigned;
(C) A description of the use; and
(D) A request for confirmation that the information in the notice is correct.
(b) Advise the user that:
(A) The district has determined that the user’s land is no longer irrigated or susceptible of irrigation and that the district intends to petition the Water Resources Commission for approval to transfer the user’s water right to other lands in the district.
(B) If the user disagrees with the determination of the district that the user’s land is no longer irrigated or susceptible of irrigation or if the user has some other objection to the proposed action of the district, the user shall so advise the district in writing within 30 days after the notice is mailed.
(C) The user shall advise the district in writing within the foregoing time period if the user believes the presumption of forfeiture under ORS 540.610 is rebuttable for a reason provided under ORS 540.610.
(5) If the district receives a written objection within 30 days after the mailing of the notice under subsection (3) of this section, the district manager shall attempt to resolve the matter with the user. If the user’s objections cannot be resolved by the manager, a hearing shall be held before the board of directors who shall make a determination whether to proceed with the petition to the Water Resources Commission.
(6) If no written objections are received by the district within 30 days after the mailing of the notice under subsection (3) of this section, or following resolution or hearing under subsection (5) of this section, the district may petition the Water Resources Commission for approval of the transfer under ORS 540.574.
(7) As used in this section:
(a) “Irrigable land” means land that is currently under irrigation or susceptible of irrigation for agricultural, horticultural, viticultural or grazing purposes.
(b) “No longer irrigated or susceptible of irrigation” means:
(A) Land on which water for irrigation has not been applied for a period of five successive irrigation seasons; or
(B) Land that does not have reasonable access to the system of irrigation works of the district, or that cannot be irrigated from or that is not susceptible to or would not, by reason of being permanently devoted to uses other than agricultural, horticultural, viticultural or grazing, be directly benefited by actual irrigation from the district.
(c) “Owned” or “controlled” means ownership in fee, purchase on a land sale contract, option to purchase or lease.
(d) “User” means an owner of land with an appurtenant water right who is subject to the charges or assessments of a district and from whose land the water right would be transferred by the petition and map filed under ORS 540.574 and an owner of land to which the water right would be transferred. [1991 c.957 §3]Section: Previous 540.540 540.541 540.543 540.545 540.550 540.560 540.570 540.572 540.574 540.576 540.578 540.580 540.585 540.587 540.610 Next
Last modified: August 7, 2008