Beneficial Use – Use It Or Lose It


We’ve talked about it in our newsletters, on our website, in our educational outreach, and still, many of our users are surprised when they receive a letter from COID regarding non-use of water.

Facts you should know:

  • April 1st to May 1st, about 1/2 of summer irrigation flows
  • May 1st to May 15th, about 3/4 of summer irrigation flows
  • May 16th to September 15th, full summer irrigation flows
  • September 16th to 30th, 3/4 of summer irrigation flows
  • October 1st to 31st, 1/2 of summer irrigation flows

We have spoken with many of our users regarding beneficial use. Common issues that arise are:

  • I just bought the property. Beneficial use is based on the water right history rather than ownership – there is no clean slate when ownership changes.
  • I’m using all of the water COID delivers to me. The State requires that a 1-acre water right must cover 1 acre of land, producing non-native vegetation on the entire area. It’s up to the patron to figure out how to beneficially use all required areas.
  • 20 years ago, COID gave us all the water we needed, now we can’t get across the field. COID can only divert (from the Deschutes river) the amount of water specified on the State issued certificate. Water-use is under ever-increasing scrutiny and, like many things, what might have been allowable in the “good old days” is unacceptable today.
  • I’ve had health issues and can’t get out to irrigate. You can protect the water by leasing it instream, relieving you of the chore.
  • The neighbor(s) above me take all the water. This doesn’t relieve the requirement to use the water. Work with your neighbor, if that fails notify COID when the shortage is occurring, not a week, month, or year later.
  • My water is mapped wrong. District maps reflect the map-of-record with the State. We have no way to alter the map unless the water right is in good standing with the State.