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Water Rights

Water is a unique and an invaluable resource. With an ever-growing demand, and increasingly constrained supply, water rights, water supply and water management issues have become critical concerns across the United States.   

Resolving today’s water supply and water quality issues requires multi-disciplinary legal skills and solution-based approaches, assuring regulatory compliance and meeting the needs of both businesses and our nation’s growing population.
Best Best & Krieger LLP (BBK) is a national leader in advising on and resolving water and environmental matters. As California’s largest full-service public agency law firm, we represent the entire spectrum of public agencies that deal with and are affected by water-related issues, including counties, cities, water suppliers, water supply management entities and special districts of every kind. We also represent private businesses in matters ranging from due diligence and water supply acquisition to complex water litigation. 

We advise industries on issues including development and land use, agriculture, manufacturing and processing, food and beverage and other concerns. Recognized for unmatched experience in water rights, water quality and related environmental fields, BBK handles some of the most cutting-edge water-related issues impacting businesses.
Influencing Water Law & Policy
BBK plays an integral role in shaping state and federal water law and policy. Whether in helping clients or through academic or professional associations, our attorneys are constantly involved in drafting and influencing water-related legislation, rules and regulations, infrastructure funding, and helping shape water resource policies. We literally wrote the book on California water, an authoritative treatise covering the many complicated and inter-related issues of water rights, supply, quality and environmental law. We regularly teach college and professional courses, speak at conferences and publish articles and other literature on all aspects of water rights and water quality.
In addition, we have served as outside counsel to emerging nations, including South Africa, Trinidad, Malaysia, Namibia and Pakistan, helping them develop water laws and policy to suit their specific and changing needs. Our depth and breadth of experience uniquely positions BBK to advocate and problem solve for clients that are impacted by an ever-evolving web of water resource-related laws and regulations.
Unmatched Experience & Comprehensive Services
Additionally, we advise on and assist with:

  • Navigating the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act’s procedural and substantive requirements and assuring compliance
  • Developing and implementing groundwater sustainability plans, including through adoption of well pumping fees and other charges, to protect and manage groundwater supplies on a sustainable basis
  • Addressing water quality, Endangered Species Act, CEQA, and National Environmental Policy Act issues and other legal and regulatory requirements that come into play regarding water rights and supply
  • Complex groundwater rights litigation and adjudications
  • Securing MS4 and construction stormwater permits
  • Advocating regarding water policies, regulations and funding
  • Addressing issues related to emerging contaminants in water, including PFOA and PFAS
  • Advising water right holders in Oregon

BBK is a vigorous advocate for our water resource clients in state and federal courts across California and the West, and before the State Water Resources Control Board, Regional Water Quality Control Boards and other administrative agencies. We represent clients in all types of water rights proceedings, enforcement actions, permit appeals, citizen suits and other litigation.

From interstate compacts to regional water supply adjudications to local proceedings and landowner disputes, when it comes to water matters, BBK does it all and has seen it all.

  • Litigating cases and negotiating key agreements involving major water bodies across California, including the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the Mojave River, Colorado River, Santa Ana River, Santa Margarita River, San Jacinto River, Ventura River and the Santa Ynez River.
  • Adjudicating water rights, including through negotiated resolutions or trial, for groundwater basins such as Santa Maria, Chino, Monterey, Antelope Valley, Borrego, Pauma Valley, Ventura/Oxnard area, Santa Paula, Indian Wells Valley, Cuyama, Central Valley, Warren Valley, Beaumont, Six Basins, Kern, San Joaquin, Coachella Valley and San Juan.
  • Advising a multitude of public agency and private clients throughout California regarding legal requirements and implementation of SGMA.
  • Advising on inter-related issues of water rights and state and federal Endangered Species Act requirements in various watersheds, such as the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the Ventura River, Klamath Basin and the Santa Ynez River.
  • Helping prepare and implement water supply planning documents for clients throughout California, including urban water management plans, water supply assessments, written verifications and water supply analyses under CEQA and NEPA.
  • Serving as general counsel and city attorney and handling all water rights, supply, management, contractual, litigation and other matters for numerous water agencies and cities through California and the West.

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