Oregon Statutes - Chapter 540 - Distribution of Water; Watermasters; Change in Use, Transfer or Forfeiture of Water Rights - Section 540.660 - Affidavit of watermaster that circumstances prevent use of water right in accordance with terms of certificate; procedures for cancellation of right.

(1) If a watermaster has reason to believe that circumstances exist that prevent a water right from being exercised according to the terms and conditions of the water right certificate issued under ORS 537.250 or 539.140, such as the land to which the water right is appurtenant is covered by an impermeable surface, or the diversion mechanism used to appropriate water under a water right is no longer operable, the watermaster shall file an affidavit with the Water Resources Director. The affidavit shall state that to the best of the watermaster’s knowledge, there is no physical way the water may be applied to a beneficial use in accordance with the terms and conditions of the water right certificate.

(2) If the watermaster files an affidavit under subsection (1) of this section each year for five consecutive years, the affidavits shall constitute prima facie evidence that the water has not been applied to a beneficial use for five years and the Water Resources Commission shall initiate proceedings under ORS 540.631 to cancel the water right.

(3) The Water Resources Department shall provide notice of the affidavit filed with the Water Resources Director under subsection (1) of this section. The department shall provide such notice in the following manner:

(a) If there are 25 or fewer record owners of the land, the department shall mail a copy of the affidavit to each record owner.

(b) If there are more than 25 record owners, the department shall provide general notice by publication according to the procedures established in ORS 193.010 to 193.100.

(c) If the land is within the boundaries of an irrigation district, the department shall mail a copy of the affidavit to the irrigation district.

(4) As used in this section, “record owner” means the person shown as the owner of the land in the county deed records established under ORS chapter 93. [1987 c.339 §1]

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Last modified: August 7, 2008