Beneficial Use 101

Did you know?

Oregon water law requires water users to beneficially use the water right for its intended purpose without waste, once every five consecutive years. We’re here to Help!

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Beneficial Use in Action

An irrigation water right is considered beneficially used when something is planted (such as an alfalfa field, garden, or landscaped areas), irrigated, and producing. Irrigation of native vegetation such as sagebrush, bunchgrass, or cheatgrass is not beneficial use of an irrigation water right.

You Have Options

If a water user cannot use all or a portion of the water right, and there is valid evidence of beneficial use within the last 5 years, there are options:

  1. Instream Lease. Donate a portion or all eligible water to the Deschutes River for one irrigation season.
  2. Permanent Transfer. Move a portion or all eligible water right to a new irrigable area.
  3. Temporary Transfer. Temporarily move a potion or all eligible water right to another COID farmer for one irrigation season.
  4. Sell. Sell a portion or all eligible water right to the District or to a District Approved buyer.

Let Us Know

If our records do not reflect your irrigation practices, please email crop photos and receipts for irrigation supplies, seed, or labor. See next page for details.

We Rely On You

The District relies on you, the patron, to provide additional beneficial use information to assure our records are correct

Helpful Information

  • The beneficial use history remains with the property and does not reset with new ownership.
  • If you have an efficient irrigation system, you can reduce the rate of delivery if you are irrigating the full footprint of the water right.
  • Water rights that have not been used in five consecutive years are subject to forfeiture.
  • Request a beneficial use map annually by emailing


1055 SW Lake Court, Redmond, OR 97756 | 541-548-6047

Email for beneficial use info and maps.

Have Questions? We can help!

Our team can help you understand your water right responsiblities while ensuring water is put to its highest use.

Contact our water rights team