Rules and Regulations




    Grants Pass Irrigation District,​​ located in Josephine and Jackson Counties, was organized to provide adequate irrigation water for land in the Rogue Valley.


    The District is dedicated to​​ operating​​ and maintaining​​ a distribution system which​​ economically and environmentally enhances the community.




    The law of the State of Oregon directs the Irrigation Districts to adopt by-laws and regulations governing the distribution and use of water. Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 545 provides that the Board of Directors shall:

    “Establish equitable by-laws and regulations for the distribution and use of water among landowners.”

    “Furthermore, the Board of Directors are responsible for the District’s water right.​​ The appropriation doctrine holds that a right is limited to the quantity of water which is beneficially used without waste. The state statutes provide that beneficial use shall be the basis, the measure and the limit of all rights to the use of the waters of the state.”

    The following rules and regulations have been adopted pursuant to the law. They seek only to enable the most efficient delivery of water to the most people. Strict adherence by all water users of the District will assure lowest costs, the best service and meet current Water Resources Department standards.



    Grants Pass Irrigation District


    Grants Pass, Oregon

    December 12, 2019

    By Resolution duly adopted at a public meeting on March 14, 2019, the Board of Directors of the Grants Pass Irrigation District, a political subdivision of the State of Oregon, (“District”) directed the recording of a Notice of standards, rules and regulations for the protection and use of the facilities, right of ways​​ and easements of the District. The Standards, rules and regulations (“Standards”) are entitled “Grants Pass Irrigation District Development Rules and Regulations”, incorporated herein by this reference, and supplemented by the provisions of this Ordinance.


    The District was formed by the Landowners​​ in the District, which included​​ the City of Grants Pass, Oregon, by vote of the landowners conducted on January 27, 1917. The District was formed to construct, own, operate, and maintain a system of works, including canals, laterals, drains and pumps, (“District facilities”) for the mutual benefit and utility of the Landowners to provide adequate irrigation water for the lands in the District. The organization of the District and the construction and operation of the canals and other facilities created mutual easements and right of ways for the District Facilities and for the Ingress and egress to them. The District diverts water from the Rogue River and other sources for use in the Rogue River Valley. The purpose of the Standards is to preserve and protect the mutual easements and right of ways for use by the District in fulfilling its duties to its members.​​ 


    Rules and Regulations may be amended from time to time by the Board of Directors of the District in its discretion as it deems reasonable for the preservation, operation, and maintenance of the District’s Facilities.


    Landowner, in consideration of the past or present delivery of irrigation water or removal of drainage water by the District, is deemed to absolve, waive and​​ release the District, its officers, directors, employees, contractors, and agents from any and all claims of liability​​ for any damages or injuries to person or property which may have heretofore occurred or which may hereafter occur in connection with the ownership, operation or maintenance of the District facilities. Said waiver shall include without limiting the breadth thereof, claims of negligence, nuisance, and trespass from seepage, high ground water, weeds, pests, smoke, dust, noise, odors and arising from the standard operations and maintenance of the system, and for damages arising from injuries and loss of life of animals and people occurring on the right of way, structures and facilities.​​ 



    Enforcement of Rules & Regulations……………………………………5

    Non-Liability of the District……………………………………………………5


    Duties of Water Users……………………………………………………6

    Wading and Swimming in Canals……………………………………….7

    Unlawful Use of Water…………………………………………………..7

    Wasting Water…………………………………………………………………….7


    Rotation of Water.……………………………………………………….8

    Points of Delivery……………………………………………………….8


    Private​​ laterals…………………………………………………………………..10


    Access to Lands & Right of Ways……………………………………..14

    District Structures & Facilities………………………………………………..15

    Gates, Checks, Bridges, Culverts, Fences and Other Structures..………16

    Condition of Facilities……..……………………………………………16

    Damage to Facilities……….……………………………………………16


    Water Right Reduction………………………………..………………..17


    Delinquencies in Payments…………………………………………….18



    governing the distribution

    of water in the





    Breach of these rules and regulations by a water user shall; at the discretion of the Board, cause the user to be subject to suspension of water delivery until adjusted and, or, reimbursed to the District for actual cost.



    The liability of the District does not include any damage or injury resulting from;

    1. Use of private irrigation ditches, dikes,​​ pumps,​​ or other facilities.

    2.Use of water after delivery to the water user.

    3. Unauthorized use or trespass on District property or facilities.

    4. Shortage or failure of water delivery through circumstances beyond the reasonable control of the District.

    The District’s liability ends with the delivery of the water from the District to the private owner or the privately-owned facility and all liability directly or indirectly resulting in the use, distribution,​​ conveyance,​​ or disposal of such water from and after said point shall in no way cause liability or responsibility to the District.

    Water furnished by the District is, by law, to be used by its patrons for irrigation purposes. The duty of the District is to make equitable distribution of the water it diverts and is able to deliver by reasonable​​ means and for such purpose only. The District shall have no liability for any claim resulting beyond such duty and such​​ use of the District’s water, and specifically disclaims any responsibility for any other use of the water.


    The manager shall employ ditchriders and other employees as may be necessary to the operation of the district.

    Ditchriders shall have authority to manage the system and the distribution of water in the area assigned them as directed by the Manager. If the landowner disagrees with the decision of the ditchrider,​​ they may appeal to the Manager and then to the Board of Directors.



    It shall be the duty of the water users to use the water continuously, night and day, Sundays and holidays, until that particular irrigation is completed. Water users who turn water back into the ditch at night or on Sundays or holidays will be considered to have used the water during such period and the water will be passed on to other users. Irrigation schedules are important for all users and will not be changed unless it is in the best interest of all users.

    No water user shall dump any water into the District’s systems without providing de-silting facilities as specified by the District.

    If any water user shall shut off his/her without first giving notice, he/she shall be liable to the lower users of water for all damages they may sustain by reason of increased flow of water upon their lands.

    Every irrigator shall be responsible for all damages caused by his/her neglect or careless acts.

    No continuous flow deliveries will be made except where the Manager shall determine that a continuous flow delivery will be advantageous to the District, but under no circumstances will a greater quantity of water be delivered that the amount to which the water user in entitled.



    No person shall wade, swim or bathe in the canals, laterals, pipelines or works of the District, and all members of the District are asked to notify the District’s office of violations.



    It shall be unlawful for any person to take water unless the water user is:​​ 

    1. a patron of the District

    2. has a District water right

    3. has the operation and maintenance charge (O&M) charge on their statement

    4. taking water on their scheduled time

    The District will encourage the public to cooperate in the enforcement of these provisions and shall, if necessary, see full enforcement of the laws of theft through the District Attorney’s office as to all offenders.



    OUR WATER MUST NOT BE WASTED. Careless and wasteful use of water will be sufficient grounds for the ditchrider to reduce the size of the stream to one which he believes the irrigator can handle economically. If, after reduction of the flow, the irrigation is still careless and wasteful, the water will be shut off from such user until he prepares to make better use of same, to the satisfaction of the ditchrider or Manager.

    Persons wasting water on roads, or vacant land either willfully, carelessly or because of defective ditches or poorly prepared land, or who shall flood certain portions of land to an unreasonable depth to properly irrigate other portions, or who use water on land not authorized for irrigation by the​​ Board of Directors may be refused the use of water until such conditions are remedied.



    It shall be the duty of the landowner to prevent any pollution of irrigation waters or water courses. All employees shall promptly report any pollution occurring in District facilities and the Manager shall institute prosecution of any violations of the state laws of pollution where the cause is not immediately eliminated. Oregon Law (ORS 164.785) prohibits the dumping of sewage, wood, rubbish and other polluting items and substances into any canal or ditch, whether Private or District maintained. Additionally, placement of tree or vine pruning, brush, weeds, grass, manure, rubbish or any other polluting material or substances which are or will become offensive to the senses or injurious to health or which shall obstruct the usage or flow shall not be permitted. The District will encourage the public to cooperate in the enforcement of these provisions and shall, if necessary, seek full enforcement of the applicable laws to all offenders.



    Water users are responsible to obtain their irrigating Schedules for the delivery of water. Refusal of water when scheduled forfeits the user’s right for that rotation. Water shall be turned off and on by the ditchrider or by his authority.



    The district shall establish points of delivery in accordance with the following principles:

    1.The land use and the area ownership situation being greatly diverse within the district, points of delivery as conveniently to all users as​​ possible, considering all factors involved. Formulas for delivery points, such as “high point in the forty acres” would not be equitable to all parts of the district.

    2. The district shall assist to preserve access to delivery points. The district shall assist the owner to obtain access by practical means and shall lend authority of the district when feasible.

    3.Where lands have become isolated from legal access to delivery points, the district shall assist the owner to obtain access by practical means and shall lend authority of the district when feasible.


    11. PUMPING

    All landowners using pumps to lift water from the District’s canals will be subject to these rules and regulations in the same manner as if they were gravity deliveries. All such installations must be approved by the Manager and there must be a valve control gate in the delivery line on the outside of the pump house. All such installations shall be placed in such a manner that no checking of the canal or lateral will be required to deliver water to them, and not to interfere with operations of and maintenance of the facility. This requirement will apply to old as well as new installations.

    The Manager may permit landowners using pumps to pump out of rotation when it is in the best interest of District and for conservation of water. No pumping out or rotation shall be permitted which shall interfere with other irrigators using water from such lateral or canal having a full supply of water on a rotation basis.​​ 

    Pumping of District water is done at the water user’s risk and the District assumes no liability for damages to pumping equipment of other damages as a result of turbulent water, fluctuation in flow, or other causes.

    The District assumes no responsibility for any damage to pumps or related facilities resulting from a decreased water supply or the failure of delivery of the water, The District recommends that users of pumping facilities​​ install automatic shut-off devices or similar safeguards to prevent such damage.



    All gates on all private ditches shall be under control of the District when used by more than one water user, but the District will not construct or maintain private delivery systems.

    The owners of the private ditches shall provide suitable locking devices on all private gates and checks. When more than one water user is on a private lateral, each water user shall provide his own diversion facilities at his high point and provide his own distribution system. Water users must not build earth dams in the private laterals.

    It shall be the duty of each user to patrol from their property to the main lateral as many times each day as necessary to remove obstructions and to stop all leakage while he/she is irrigating.​​ All gates on all private ditches shall be under control of the District when used by more than one water user, but the District will not construct or maintain private delivery systems.



    All District easements and right of ways include the area​​ at least​​ twelve feet wide along each side of the canal or drain invert measured from the outside edge of each side of the invert or each side of other types of District Facilities.​​ 

    The development of land along and within the area served by the District and along and within its easements and right of ways can cause significant adverse impacts on the operation and maintenance of the irrigation system. Said impacts include but are not limited to:

    a. An increase in the quantity and rate of non-agricultural drainage water entering the irrigation system which is not designated to accept said water;

    b. A decrease in quality in if​​ nonagricultural​​ drainage water that commonly contains non-agriculture chemicals and debris;

    c. Complaints about normal and necessary District maintenance operations which may cause noise, dust or other impacts considered by non-agricultural land users or trespassers to​​ be a nuisance;

    d. The restriction of access to the easements and right of ways and the use of those areas for the reasonable operation, maintenance and improvement of the canals and other structures by District employees and contractors;

    e. The deposit of garbage and debris on District Facilities that cause additional maintenance and operation hazards and expenses and may impede the flow of water causing loss of capacity and flooding;

    f. The unauthorized encroachment on District Facilities of fences, wall, trees and other plants, buildings, bridges and other crossings and other structures that interfere with District operation and maintenance, and may impede flow of water; and

    g.​​ The installation of unauthorized pumps, headgates and other diversions that may adversely affect District water rights and the obligation and authority of the District to control the delivery of water through its Facilities.​​ 

    No one shall use District easements and right of ways and its Facilities, or take any action in any manner that interferes with or restricts the unencumbered use of the easements and right of ways and Facilities by the District. No wall, foundation, fencing, landscaping, bridge or other crossing, pipe, headgate or other diversion structure, debris, other structure, or other obstruction or material shall be placed on the right of way or easement. No alteration shall be made to land adjoining the easement which may jeopardize the integrity of the canal or drain bank or other Facility. Any non-permitted obstruction or alteration may be​​ removed by the District at the owner’s expense. ​​ The use and removal of excavated materials placed on an easement or right of way in the construction or maintenance of District facilities is reserved exclusively for the District. No land owner or water user may remove or take any excavated material from its original location without express prior written consent from the District.


    The operation and maintenance of the District Facilities shall be under the management of the District’s Manager. ​​ Only persons authorized by the Manager may operate any part of the District Facilities. ​​ No other persons shall have any right to operate or interfere with the Facilities in any manner.


    Any owner or owners, developer, promoter or seller (“Landowner”) of any tract or tracts of land lying in whole or in part within the boundaries of a District easement or right of way is subject to the Standards. As used in the Standards, the term “tract or tracts of land” includes parcels of land that are a portion of a parcel of land as it existed at the time the District canal or other Facility was constructed and shall be subject to the Standards. Any conditions and requirements by the District regarding the improvement of the water delivery system and works or regarding the administration of water deliveries to such properties are deemed in furtherance of the proper and efficient distribution or delivery of water to the parcels as provided in ORS 545.287.


    Prior to any division or improvement of any parcel of land upon which a District Facility is located or which is adjacent to a District Facility, the owner of the land shall provide a written development plan to the District for its review and approval detailing the type and location of all improvements to be made on the land. ​​ The District reserves the right to object to any proposed development or improvement that fails to comply with the requirements set forth herein. Each such plan and the ultimate​​ division or improvement of the parcel shall comply with the Standards then in effect. Any development shall include:​​ 


    1. For land within an urban growth boundary, buried piping of the District canal or drain in the center of the District’s easement or right of way in a pipe having an expected lifetime of not less than 100 years and of a diameter specified by the District designed to convey the quantity of water conveyed by the existing canal or drain.

    2. Installation of a 6’ chain link fence or other fencing approved by the District, on the edge of the easement on all property being divided or built upon within an urban growth boundary. No PVC fencing will be allowed. Lands outside of an urban growth boundary shall provide a fence at the edge of the easement using appropriate fencing to keep livestock out of canal and ditches.​​ 

    3. If the District agrees to the continued delivery of water to subdivided lands, it may condition its approval upon the following:​​ 

    A. the Landowner shall install underground pipe from the District’s designated point of delivery to each lot or parcel served from the District’s existing delivery structure. Landowner shall thereafter operate and maintain the irrigation system in a manner so as to deliver an adequate supply of water to the land legally entitled to receive it. The District shall have no obligation or liability for the operation and maintenance of the system of the failure of Landowner to operate and maintain it in a good operating manner;​​ 

    B. Shut off valves shall be provided for each individual parcel and main pipe being served;​​ 

    C. the Landowner shall provide easements per District standards for the delivery system and make provision for maintenance and repair of the delivery system;​​ 

    D. the Landowner shall provide any other measures that the District considers reasonable for the proper and efficient delivery of water to the subdivision and for the efficient administration of such delivery. This may include, but shall not be limited to, provisions for the continuing maintenance and repair of the delivery system to and within the subdivision. ORS 545.101.

    4. No increase of runoff or drainage water is allowed in District canals and drains and the Landowner shall provide drainage facilities designed by prevent any drainage water for impacting in any manner District facilities.

    5. The District may charge for water deliveries to subdivided lands, or to an organized user groups representing the subdivided lands, by charging and billing each individual parcel or by billing a homeowners’ association or similar entity, which represents the subdivided or partitioned lands or group. The Directors may assess an additional charge for water deliveries to subdivided lands or to user groups in order to cover extra costs to or services of the District on account of such delivery. Before billing will be done on an association or group basis, the association or group must enter into a memorandum of understanding with the District concerning such billing. Notwithstanding the particular billing procedure used by the District, each individual parcel shall be responsible for the timely payment for water deliveries to the parcel, and if the owner of any parcel is delinquent in the payment of water charges for the parcel, the District may file a notice of claim of lien affecting that parcel pursuant to ORS 545.494, and procedures thereafter as provided by law. No water deliveries will be made to any parcel of land with a delinquent account.

    6. Landowner, in consideration of the past or present delivery of irrigation water or removal of drainage water by the District, is deemed to absolve, waive and release the District, its officers, directors, employees, contractors, and agents from any and all claims of liability for any damages or injuries to person or property which may have heretofore occurred or which may hereafter occur in connection with the ownership, operation or maintenance of the District facilities. Said​​ waiver shall include without limiting the breadth thereof, claims of negligence, nuisance, and trespass from seepage, high ground water, weeds, pests, smoke, dust, noise, odors and arising from the standard operations and maintenance of the system, and for damages arising from injuries and loss of life of animals and people occurring on the right of way,​​ structures,​​ and facilities.​​ 

    7. The Standards are perpetual and run with and bind the tract or tracts of land and every part thereof and all of Landowner’s successors and assigns.



    The properly authorized employees and agents of the district shall be permitted to enter upon any irrigated land of the District for the purpose of reasonable inspections of irrigation or facilities for irrigation. District canals shall be accessible along the bank by district employees in a sufficient area to afford access to patrol and repair the canal. Where necessary, the​​ landowner​​ shall afford additional access to district facilities on the land for repairs and maintenance. Crops,​​ trees,​​ and other vegetation grown within the District’s right-of-way, or otherwise interferes with the District’s facility shall be subject to reasonable removal or destruction by the District at the cost of the responsible party.



    The canals, pipelines and all other structures and facilities of the irrigation system and all other devices placed in or over or under any such structure or facilities are required to have a written Crossing Permit and approval of the manager.



    No structures such as gates, checks or diversions shall be placed in district canals, bridges,​​ culverts,​​ or structures over or under canals without expressed approval first obtained from the Manager. All maintenance of such installations shall be the duty of the landowner. No fences shall be built which interfere with full operation of District facilities including patrol and maintenance of District canals. No gates or fences on or across ditch banks or canals shall be constructed without approval of the Manager. Unauthorized installations shall be removed at the cost of the responsible party.



    Privately maintained laterals and other facilities served by the District must be in good condition so as to prevent loss of water and permit regular flow. The Manager shall not permit delivery of water into facilities which are not adequately prepared and maintained. The District will not be responsible for defects in privately maintained facilities. (SEE 12. PRIVATE LATERALS)



    It shall be the duty of every landowner to use due care to avoid damage to district canals or other facilities. Any damage caused thereto by the landowner, intentionally, including damage caused by livestock of any landowner, or his agent. Damages shall be repaired at the cost of the responsible party.



    Any owner or owners, subdividers or sellers of any tract or tracts of land lying within the boundaries of the District and who are subdividing a tract of land currently within the District will be held responsible for the delivery of the District’s water to any subdivided portion and to provide​​ the necessary easements and delivery system from the original point of delivery for said tract to each of the portions of the subdivided tract.

    The subdivider shall show on the subdivision plat all existing easements,​​ rights-of-way​​ and facilities and shall further show any roads or crossings, new or existing, which cross any of the Districts’ ditches, laterals, canals or existing easements. In every case, prior to the construction or reconstruction of a road or crossing of any ditch, lateral, canal or easement owned or controlled by the District, the subdivider must secure from the District approval for the construction or reconstruction of any such road or crossing. The subdivider shall further develop his property in such a manner as not to adversely affect any of the District’s facilities.

    Any person who sells, contracts to sell, leases, purchases or contracts to purchase any part of the existing tract shall not look to the District to provide right-of-way, water transmission facilities or maintenance of said facilities from the original point of delivery of the original tract. All private delivery systems from the original point of delivery are to be the sole responsibility of either the subdivider or the individual tract owners.

    Oregon Law, ORS 92.020 (6), provides “no plat of a subdivision or partition located within the boundaries of the District shall be approved by the City of Grants Pass or Josephine County, the​​ City of Rogue River or Jackson County, unless the city or county has received and accepted a certification from the District that the subdivision or partition is excluded from or included into the District.”



    The District will allow patrons/property owners to reduce acreage of irrigation assessed based on dimensions of the buildings and structures on the property. To complete this, the patron/property owner will be required to contact a certified Water Rights Surveyor prepare a report providing this information.


    21. MEETINGS

    The District invites participation at its meetings. Meetings are held at the Grants Pass Irrigation District office, 200 Fruitdale Drive at​​ 8​​ a.m. on the​​ second Thursday of each month.



    The Board of Directors, at its discretion, may withhold delivery of water to any lands within the District until such time as past due charges are paid. In the case of inability to meet this requirement, landowners shall present their case to the Board of Directors. It will be the policy of the Board of Directors, at its discretion, or before the beginning of each irrigation season, to determine the amount of the delinquent charge which shall be paid​​ prior​​ to delivery of water.



    The irrigation charges to be charged to the patrons of the District shall be computed each year. These charges shall be apportioned to the Districts’ patrons pursuant to the Oregon Law. Said annual irrigation charges shall become due on April 1, of each year, in one installment. If, on April 16 of each year the charges are unpaid, the District will apply interest on the unpaid balance until paid in full. The District may file a Notice of Lien in January of the next year pursuant to ORS 545.494. Thereafter, the Board of Directors may seek to foreclose the lien pursuant to the provisions of ORS 545.502. In such foreclosure proceeding, the District will seek to recover its charges as well as its foreclosure expenses, including court costs, attorney fees and title search fees.


    Please contact the office if you have any questions regarding the Rules and Regulations of the District.​​ 

    December​​ 12, 2019