The Oregon Legislature did not move forward this session with proposed legislation to change how irrigation shutdown orders are done during times of water shortage, the Capital Press agricultural newspaper (Salem, Oregon) reported.
Currently, irrigators holding junior water rights can be ordered to stop irrigating during shortages in order to ensure continued flow for those holding senior rights. However, the junior rights holder can sue the Oregon Water Resources Department to temporarily halt such stoppages while the matter is reviewed.
Advocates for senior rights holders, including the Klamath Tribe — a major holder of senior water rights — argue that this is a loophole allowing junior rights holders to run the clock and irrigate at their expense while they are left high and dry. Other advocates say the right to appeal is important — otherwise they could be harmed by a shutoff order. They say the process allows them to try the case sooner based on the facts, rather than wait without water and without recourse.
House Bill 3430 would have eliminated the appeal right. The bill is now dead for this session, but may be revived at a later date.
For those concerned about using their water rights or other legal matters, OAN members are entitled to up to 30 minutes per month of free consultation with an attorney through the Legal Access program and Jordan Ramis PC. Simply contact Steve Shropshire at 503-598-5583 or 888-598-7070 and have your membership number handy.
If your question cannot reasonably be answered within 30 minutes, you’ll receive an estimate of the time required and will have the option to hire Jordan Ramis, pursue other counsel or drop the matter altogether.