BENEFICIAL USE

WHAT DOES IT MEAN AND WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS?

Per Oregon Revised Statutes and Oregon Administrative Rules, a water right holder is required to beneficially use the full water right appurtenant to their lands a minimum of 1 year out of every 5 consecutive years. Irrigation season is from April 15th to September 30th of each year. 

A water right is considered beneficially used when something is planted (such as a crop, pasture, yard, or other landscaping), irrigated and growing. You may plant and grow anything (except weeds) that is non-native to the Northern Oregon area and requires irrigation to thrive and grow. 

If you have a mapped water right, you must irrigate and beneficially use the water right specifically as the water right is mapped to the ground. For example, if you have 1 acre of irrigation water right, you must irrigate and grow something on 1 acre of land. 

If you have an irrigation water right, you may not use that water for dust abatement and get beneficial use credit for using the water.

If a water right holder fails to beneficially use the full water right as required, the State allows the Irrigation District to confiscate the unused portion of water right after 5 consecutive years of nonuse. When the District confiscates a water right, the unused portion is permanently removed from the appurtenant land (without compensation) and placed on another property within the District's boundaries for future use. 

If a land owner cannot or does not want to use all or a portion of the water right appurtenant to their land and there is valid evidence of beneficial use of that water right within the last 5 years, there are some alternatives that may be available to the land owner. See the list below for a brief description of each option. 

OPTION 1 - TEMPORARY INSTREAM TRANSFER (INSTREAM LEASE)

The deeded property owner may request to temporarily transfer any portion or all of a water right instream for a 1-year period. When a water right is temporarily transferred instream, this water stays in the East Fork of the Hood River to benefit the river rather than being diverted through the District's canals. Because the water is benefiting the river and its aquatic life, the State considers this to be beneficially used, and allows beneficial use credit of the water right just as if it were actually used on the ground it is appurtenant to. When the temporary instream transfer expires, the water right reverts back to the original land it is appurtenant to and the water is once again delivered to the land owner's property. If this option is chosen, the land owner is still responsible for paying their full assessment to the District. There is no monetary compensation for leaving the water right in the river. The State calls this type of transfer an INSTREAM LEASE. 

REQUESTS FOR INSTREAM LEASE MUST BE SUBMITTED TO EFID NO LATER THAN APRIL 30TH. 

OPTION 2 - TEMPORARY TRANSFER

A deeded property owner may request a temporary transfer of any portion of their water right for use on other District approved lands for a 1-year period; there is a fee to temporarily transfer water off. When a water right is temporarily transferred to other lands within the District boundaries, the water is not delivered to the land owner's property during the period of temporary transfer; it is delivered to the lands to which it has been temporarily moved to. When the temporary transfer expires the water right reverts back to the original land it is appurtenant to, and the water is once again delivered to the land owner's property. The owner of the receiving lands must pay fees to EFID for the use of the water and EFID will credit a portion of those fees to the assessment account of the original property owner. Please contact EFID for fee information. The State considers a temporary transfer beneficial use of the water. 

REQUESTS FOR TEMPORARY TRANSFER MUST BE SUBMITTED TO EFID NO LATER THAN MARCH 31ST. 

OPTION 3 - OWN LANDS TRANSFER

The deeded property owner may request to transfer a portion of their water right within their own lands. If a property owner wishes to move a portion of their water right from one area on their land to another area within that same property, they may request a review to determine if there is additional ground to move the water right to. When moving water rights within their own lands, the land owner must pay a transfer fee to the District - currently $500.

OPTION 4 - CONFISCATION

The deeded property owner may choose to have the District confiscate the unused water right at the end of the 5th year of nonuse. If the property owner receives the required notice from the District after the 4th consecutive year of nonuse, the property owner may choose to do nothing with the unused water right and have the District confiscate it. If the land owner chooses this option, at the end of the 5th year of nonuse the unused water right will be removed from the appurtenant land without compensation and placed on another property within the District's boundaries. There is no transfer fee to the deeded property owner to exercise this option. 

FOR ANY AND ALL QUESTIONS REGARDING THE ABOVE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT EFID WATER RIGHT'S SPECIALIST:

JAYLENE HATTIG

PH: (541) 354 - 1185 

Email: jaylene@efidhr.org