(OC08-005)January 2008 - present
Final Report (pdf)
The Exempt Groundwater Well Policy Consensus Work Group worked toward stakeholder consensus about whether changes should be made to Oregon's policy on exempt groundwater wells. Legislation modifying the state's exempt groundwater well policy was proposed during the 2007 legislative session and previously. In late 2007, State Representative Jackie Dingfelder requested assistance from Oregon Consensus in convening a group of stakeholders to discuss current policy. Oregon Consensus conducted a preliminary assessment to determine the feasibility of a stakeholder dialogue and to identify appropriate participants, subject matter, and structure for the process. Oregon Consensus provided neutral facilitation services through Sam Imperati of The Institute for Conflict Management, Inc.
Some uses of water in Oregon are exempt from the requirement to apply for a water right from the
Water Resources Department. These uses are called “exempt uses.” Under ORS 537.545, there are seven exempt
groundwater uses: (1) stock watering, (2) lawn or non-commercial garden watering of not more than one-half acre, (3)
single or group domestic purposes not exceeding 15,000 gpd, (4) single industrial or commercial purposes not exceeding
15,000 gpd, (5) down-hole heat exchange uses, (6) watering school grounds of 10 acres or less of schools located within
a critical groundwater area, and (7) certain land applications associated with water reuse and confined animal feeding operations. Wells supplying water for exempt groundwater uses must comply with Oregon’s minimum well
construction standards for the construction, maintenance, and abandonment of any well.
If you have questions regarding the Exempt Groundwater Well Policy Consensus Work Group, please contact:
Natural Resources Program Manager
Hatfield School of Government
Portland State University