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Instream fee could drop

Published on April 9, 2011 3:01AM

Last changed on May 6, 2011 9:38PM


SALEM -- Farmers leasing their water right to other uses could do so at a reduced cost under a bill lawmakers are considering.



House Bill 2983 removes a $100 renewal fee for the instream lease program. An amendment to the bill keeps intact the original $250 fee.



The fees are in place to help the Oregon Department of Water Resources recover costs to administer the program.



With about 50 such renewals a year, the annual cost of eliminating the fee is about $5,000.



The instream lease program is used by farmers to prevent loss of a water right when fallowing crops, or not using a right for other reasons. Under Oregon law, a water right is subject to forfeiture if it is not put to beneficial use every five years.



The lease program constitutes a beneficial use.



The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on March 30 moved HB2983 to the House floor with a do-pass recommendation.



--Mitch Lies



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