Under Oregon law, all water is publicly owned. In order to use the water that flows past, through, or under your property you must have a permit, or water right, from the Oregon Water Resources Department. Irrigation water rights are attached to individual parcels of land, and your land may already have a water right. Irrigation water rights should be disclosed on the sale of a property. You can contact our local Watermaster to verify a water right. See: http://www.oregon.gov/OWRD
If your land does not have an irrigation water right, you can apply for a permit through the Oregon Water Resources Department. A water right is not needed if you want to use well water for domestic use or to water less than ½ acre of lawn or non-commercial garden. A water right is always required before you divert any water from a stream, even if the stream crosses your property.
The water right will include the total volume that can be used or diverted. Read your water right carefully. To make the most of your water right, check out the Irrigation Scheduling section.