Water Resources Department: Agency Subdivisions

Director’s Office

Address: 725 Summer St. NE, Suite A, Salem 97301
Phone: 503-986-0900
Contact: Tom Byler

Duties and Responsibilities: The office develops and supervises policies and programs to ensure that water management practices follow Oregon Water Law, oversees implementation of the State’s Integrated Water Resources Strategy and serves as the principal contact with the Legislature, tribes,  stakeholder groups and Western States Water Council. In addition, the Water Resources Development Program administers grant and loan programs and provides funding and technical assistance to help individuals and communities meet their water needs.

Water Resources Commission

Address: 725 Summer St. NE, Suite A, Salem 97301
Phone: 503-986-0900
Contact: Cindy Smith, Commission Assistant
Statutory Authority: ORS 536.022

Duties and Responsibilities: The seven-member commission oversees department activities and sets policy consistent with state law. 

Field Services Division

Address: 725 Summer St. NE, Suite A, Salem 97301
Phone: 503-986-0847
Contact: Ivan Gall, Administrator

Duties and Responsibilities: The division carries out the department’s mission by enforcing the state’s water laws and implementing the Water Resources Commission’s policies in the field. The division has sole responsibility for the regulation of water uses based upon the water rights of record. Staff also inspects wells for protection of the groundwater resource, inspects dams for the protection of the public and collects streamflow and groundwater data for use by staff and the public.

Water Right Services Division

Address: 725 Summer St. NE, Suite A, Salem 97301
Phone: 503-986-0819
Contact: Dwight French, Administrator

Duties and Responsibilities: The division is responsible for processing water right permits to meet a variety of needs, including agriculture, drinking water, fish, wildlife, recreation and industry. In addition, the division processes transactions that allow water right holders to change how their existing water rights are used, including changes involving the transfer or lease of water instream. The division also adjudicates water right claims that pre-date the 1909 water code as well as federal and tribal rights.

Groundwater Advisory Committee

Address: 725 Summer St. NE, Suite A, Salem 97301
Phone: 503-986-0933
Contact: Justin Iverson, Department Liaison; John Stadelli, Chair
Statutory Authority: ORS 536.090
Duties and Responsibilities: The committee’s nine members, appointed by the Water Resources Commission, advise the commission and WRD on rules, legislation, groundwater public policy and the licensing of well constructors. The committee also reviews proposed expenditures of revenues generated from start card fees associated with constructing wells.​

Klamath River Basin Compact

Address: 6600 Washburn Way, Klamath Falls 97603
Phone: 541-973-4431
Contact: Chrysten Lambert, Chair, Klamath Falls, federal government representative; Tom Byler, Oregon representative; Curtis Anderson, California representative
Statutory Authority: 542.610

Duties and Responsibilities: Members of the commission facilitate inter-governmental cooperation in development and proper use of the water resources of the Klamath River Basin.​

Technical Services Division 

Phone: 503-986-0879
Contact: Brenda Bateman, Administrator

Duties and Responsibilities: The division includes groundwater and surface water scientists responsible for understanding the surface and groundwater resources of the state. The division also ensures the safety of dams, develops databases to share water resources information, licenses well drillers, enforces well construction standards and conducts enforcement proceedings for the department. 

Western States Water Council

Address: 682 E Vine St., Suite 202, Murray, UT 84107
Phone: 801-685-2555
Contact: Tony Willardson, Executive Director; Tom Byler, Oregon Executive Committee Member

Duties and Responsibilities: Created in 1965, the Western States Water Council facilitates cooperation among western states in the conservation, development and management of water resources. The council consists of representatives appointed by the governors of 18 western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.