Water Rights

The demand for limited quantities of high-quality water is great and growing. Water use, governed by a complex system of water rights controlled primarily by state law, is increasingly affected by federal regulatory considerations such as water quality under the Clean Water Act and species management under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and other wildlife conservation laws. Strategic planning to ensure necessary water supply and allowable uses is increasingly critical for the information technology (data centers), manufacturing, agriculture, and project development industries, as well as public water supply and treatment authorities.

B&D helps clients determine, obtain, and preserve the water rights necessary for their operations. We advise on the challenges and opportunities that arise from numerous sources, including competing demands for scarce water resources, agricultural and forestry water management practices, water storage, transfer and conveyance rights, wetlands preservation and mitigation, habitat and ESA requirements, and the watershed-based planning and permitting process.

Representative Matters

  • B&D advises a municipal water district on various water rights issues as part of their day-to-day operations.
  • B&D advises a major domestic water user regarding the protection of water rights related to the transfer and consolidation of wells.
  • B&D assists a regional water user group in strategic planning for water storage and the transfer of water rights to protect against drought and loss of snowpack due to climate change.
  • B&D attorneys have experience representing major parties in a complex water adjudication in the Pacific Northwest.