Water Rights
7:04 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

State Denies McKenzie River Water Rights Application

The state of Oregon has denied a permit application from Willamette Water Company for water rights on the McKenzie River.  

McKenzie River
Credit BLM

The Veneta-based Willamette Water Company applied for rights to 34 cfs  - or about 22 million gallons per day – from the McKenzie River.  In 2012, after a challenge from conservation group Water Watch of Oregon, an administrative law judge ruled the permit should be turned down because the company had not identified immediate customers for the water.  The Oregon Water Resources Department agreed with that ruling late last week.  Water Watch spokesman Jim McCarthy:

McCarthy: "It's water from one of the state's most iconic rivers.  And it just didn't conform with the law, which doesn't allow you to speculate on water.  It doesn't allow you to lock up water now so that you can profit from it later.  You have to have a beneficial use for the water that you can identify and show."

Willamette Water Company has 20 days to object to the ruling.  The Company did not return KLCC's call for comment.