Case Studies

Dividing the Waters

Water Rights Legislation


Our Client’s Challenges:

Our client, a wholesale nursery business, is one of Oregon’s largest growers of ornamental nursery stock. All of our client’s growing operations require the availability of a legal, reliable supply of water. Their operations extend over thousands of acres on multiple properties, some of which have been divided into multiple smaller parcels with different owners over the years. Our client requested our help to establish sole ownership over a water right permit held by multiple property owners so that they could protect the water rights essential to their continued operation. At the time, Oregon law did not provide for split ownership of water rights permits.

Our Solution:

Our water services group worked with the Oregon Department of Water Resources and interest groups to develop, lobby, and pass Senate Bill 200 (2013) enabling landowners such as our client to split ownership of a shared water rights permit. Following passage of the bill, our team remained involved throughout the agency rulemaking process to make sure that the new tool was successfully implemented.

Our client used the new statutory process to gain sole ownership of its portion of the water permit on their land. This allowed them to complete the water right certification process, providing them with control and flexibility over future management and business decisions involving the property. As a result, they have successfully expanded the irrigation and growing operations on that property.

Tags: Water

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