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Water Rights in the Mid-Coast Region

The information on this page was derived from an Oregon Water Resources Department technical memo prepared for the MCWPP to support this planning effort. The technical memo describes legal allocations of water within the geographic scope of the planning area. Data was derived from the Water Rights Information System.


Water Rights Snapshot

  • There are about 1,637 water rights in the Mid-Coast planning area allocated to 29 different uses. Domestic use has the most number of water rights (n=703) followed by irrigation (n=419), instream (n=110), and municipal (n=82). 

  • The total authorized rate is about 448 cfs (cubic feet per second ) (though there are conditions placed on the actual withdrawal and use of this water). Five water uses (municipal, fish culture, industrial, irrigation, and domestic) account for 98% of the authorized rate in the planning area. 

  • The majority of out-of-stream uses authorize a small amount of water for multiple uses (e.g., domestic, livestock, irrigation, lawn and garden, etc). The majority of these uses are authorized to use less than 0.5 cfs.

  • Nearly all water rights are from surface water (streams, springs, and reservoirs). There are 12 groundwater rights in the planning area.

  • There are instream water rights with priority dates in 1966, 1974, 1976, 1983, 1991, 1992, and 2018. The amount of water specified in instream water rights varies by month and by reach. The presence of instream water rights does not necessarily mean that water is protected because instream uses can be junior to out-of-stream uses. Some instream rights are senior to many out-of-stream rights.

  • Municipal water use constitutes the largest water use in the planning area. The authorized withdrawals across the planning area for municipal use are ~142 cfs. Some of these water rights are limited to emergency use only, and full use of the water right may be limited by permit conditions. About 15% of municipal water is consumed during summer months; 10% is consumed during winter months. 

  • Although domestic uses have the most number of water rights (n=703), the authorized total withdrawals across the planning area are modest (~13 cfs). Most domestic water rights are tied to other uses, such as irrigation of lawns and gardens, livestock, etc. About 20% of domestic water is consumed.

  • About 6,142 acres have irrigation water rights, and authorized withdrawals across the planning area are ~72 cfs. The majority of irrigation occurs in the Alsea, followed by the Siletz, and Yaquina. The application rate for irrigation is generally limited to 1/80th cfs, and a total duty of 2.5 acre feet (though this can vary from water right to water right). About 50% of irrigation water is consumed.

  • There are very few commercial and industrial water users that account for a small amount of the authorized water use in each of the sub-areas, wtih the exception of Georgia Pacific in the Siletz River Basin. Georgia Pacific has some of the largest authorized withdrawals in the entire planning area (35 cfs). About 10% of industrial water and 15% of commercial water is consumed.


Total count of water rights by type.

  • The water users with the largest authorized withdrawals are for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for hatchery operations (~103 cfs total from multiple sources), Georgia Pacific for manufacturing (~35 cfs total from multiple sources), City of Toledo for municipal use (~22 cfs total from multiple sources), and City of Newport (~19 cfs from multiple sources).

  • Georgia Pacific, the City of Newport, and the City of Toledo all withdraw water from the Siletz River and discharge used water to another drainage. This is an out-of-basin water use and is considered 100% consumptive water that is not returned to the system from which it is withdrawn.

  • Although fish hatcheries have the largest authorized withdrawals, they are assumed to be non-consumptive, meaning that the water is returned either at, or near, the point of diversion.

  • There is minimal water use for livestock. About 50% of livestock water is consumed.

  • There are very few water rights transactions, such as transfers, in the planning area. There have been no instream transfers (either temporary or permanent).

  • The most rapid development occurred in the 1960s. Water development has generally slowed across the planning area within the past two decades, with the exception of instream water rights filed in 2018. 

  • Municipal rights are largely concentrated near the coast along Highway 101 whereas self-supplied domestic and irrigation are scattered throughout the planning area.

Authorized rate for largest five use types.

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