Water & Light eys water rights purchase
The commission took no action when it returned to open session.
Water & Light has gone in with four municipal partners — Yamhill, Carlton, Dayton and Lafayette — to create the Yamhill Regional Water Authority. In that capacity, it is considering purchase additional water rights designed to offset likely summer restrictions on more junior rights it has obtained via state allocation.
Water flows are lowest in the summer months. Unfortunately, that's the period of highest demand.
Rights very seldom change hands. WestWater Research was only able to identify 17 transactions in Northwestern Oregon since 1998, mostly involving municipalities or, to a lesser extent, nursery operations and berry farms.
Water is measured by the amount it takes to cover an acre of land one foot deep. Called an acre-foot, it runs about 325,000 gallons.
Selling prices have ranged from $225 per acre-foot to $1,200. That makes it hard to establish market value.
Further complicating the picture, there are two types of permanent rights, year-around and seasonal. In addition, rightsholders sometimes offer an option agreement granting the buyer the right to draw water in times of need.