Eric L. Garner


Tel: (213) 787-2561


At a Glance

Eric co-authored all three editions of “California Water.”
For the past two decades, he has worked extensively on groundwater matters.
He was named an MVP of the Year by Law360, a California Lawyer of the Year by California Lawyer magazine and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in California by the Daily Journal.

Managing Partner Eric Garner practices water rights and supply law at Best Best & Krieger LLP. He works on surface water and groundwater issues throughout California. For the past two decades, he has worked extensively on groundwater matters. He represented the lead parties in the Santa Maria and Antelope Valley groundwater adjudications, is involved in the Las Posas and Ventura River adjudications and also was involved in the Mojave Groundwater adjudication. He was involved in drafting the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and testified before the state Senate Committee on Natural Resources & Water on adjudication reform legislation. He has drafted water laws in South Africa, Trinidad and Pakistan and worked with the United Nations Environmental Programme on incorporating environmental issues into water laws, the World Bank on groundwater issues in the Middle East and North Africa and was the first American Chair of the International Bar Association’s Water Law Committee.
Eric co-authored “California Water,” “California Water II” and “California Water Third Edition,” and is an adjunct law professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. He has also been chosen as a California Lawyer of the Year by California Lawyer magazine, twice as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in California by the Daily Journal, twice as the Water Law Lawyer of the Year in Los Angeles by Best Lawyers and was one of five lawyers in the United States named MVP of the Year by Law360. He is licensed to practice law in the State of California.
Water Resource

  • Eric represented County of Los Angeles Waterworks District No. 40 in the Antelope Valley Groundwater Adjudication Proceedings — the largest groundwater rights case in California history. The trial court judgment includes approximately 70,000 landowners, including two separate classes. The judgment determines who has the right to pump water from the Antelope Valley groundwater basin and establishes a long-term sustainable management plan. The litigation was complex not only because of the number of parties and the size of the area, but due to the fact that the U.S. government, as the largest landowner in the region, was a party to this State Court proceeding under the McCarran Amendment.
  • In City of Santa Maria v. Adam, et al, Eric successfully represented the City of Santa Maria in a large and complex case involving the adjudication of water rights to groundwater, imported water and salvaged water in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. This case was chosen by the State of California as a pilot project for innovative online case management programs, which has since become standard in many jurisdictions.
  • Represents the City of Paso Robles on both surface and groundwater issues, including defending the City’s groundwater rights in a lawsuit brought by landowners
  • Represents the City of Ventura on surface and groundwater issues, including adjudications of both sources 

Law Firm Leadership

Eric has held the managing partner position at BB&K since 2005 and is now serving his seventh term. Elected by the partnership, the managing partner oversees all aspects of the firm’s operations in all offices. Under Eric’s leadership, BB&K has grown substantially and is an industry leader in innovation and diversity, all of which have earned accolades from the legal community and the press. These include:

  • Mergers of three law firms, including the opening of BB&K’s first out-of-state office in Washington, D.C., as well as substantial geographic and practice area expansions. Repeated recognition for workforce diversity, including a No. 1 ranking for minority representation at the equity partner level by American Lawyer Media and No. 1 for Best Law Firm for Women and Minorities among mid-sized U.S. firms by Law360.
  • Integration of technological advances into all aspects of firm operations, from marketing and accounting to client-facing applications and websites.
  • A holistic focus on staff and attorney wellness through firm-sponsored trainings and seminars that focus on mindfulness, work-life balance and health. 


  • University of Michigan Law School, J.D.
  • Earlham College, B.A. with honors


  • California

Legal Alerts Mar 25, 2021

Appellate Decisions Limiting Groundwater Pumping in an Overdrafted Basin

Antelope Valley Groundwater Basin Adjudication

Authored Articles & Publications Oct 13, 2020

SGMA and Water Rights: Avoiding Litigation Risks

BB&K’s Eric Garner Co-Authors Law Journal Article and Presents Webinar

Authored Articles & Publications Apr 30, 2019

"California Water," Third Edition

Eric Garner’s Updates to Text on Historical, Legal and Policy Issues Affecting California Water Use

Authored Articles & Publications Feb 28, 2019

Aquifer Management Success

In the Water International Journal, BB&K Managing Partner Eric Garner Identifies Factors for Groundwater Sustainability

Legal Alerts Aug 29, 2014

Legislature Adopts Historic Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

Act Imposes Groundwater Management and Reporting Requirements on Local Agencies

  • “Adapting Water Laws to Increasing Demand and a Changing Climate,” Water International 2016 (Special Issue)
  • “The Impact of the California Drought on Water Agencies and Treatment Districts,” BBKnowledge, July 1, 2015
  • “Groundwater Legislation: History in the Making or Another Dead End? (Video),” BBKnowledge, Jan. 29, 2015
  • “Dealing in Drought: Development, Legislation and Litigation,” BBKnowledge, Nov. 26, 2014
  • “Eric Garner Provides Antelope Valley Groundwater Basin Adjudication as Case Study to Senate Committee,” BBKnowledge, Nov. 21, 2014
  • “Historic Groundwater Legislation Bills Awaiting Governor Approval,” BBKnowledge, Sept. 8, 2014
  • “Water Bond Only a Part of California’s Water Problem Solution,” BBKnowledge, Aug. 25, 2014
  • “Now is the Time to Fix Groundwater Issues,” Daily Journal, June 10, 2014
  • “A Role for Reasonableness and Physical Solution in Water Law in an Era of Climate Change,” Bloomberg BNA Water Law & Policy Monitor, March 12, 2014
  • “California’s New Basic Human Right to Water Will Frame Future Policy Debates,” Bloomberg BNA Water Law & Policy Monitor, March 28, 2013
  • “Why Californians Should Care About Water Rights,”, June 2012
  • “Harnessing The Sun’s Power Can Negatively Impact Another Natural Resource,” North American Clean Energy Magazine, December 2010
  • “Navigating the Desert Terrain and Legal Landscape,” Solar Industry, July 2010
  • “California Water II,” Solano Press, co-author, 2007 edition
  • “California Water,” Solano Press, co-author



Contact Eric L. Garner

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