Water

Water is a vital resource, and access to safe and reliable water is fundamental to society. As a result, its use, supply, quality and management are all highly regulated. The laws are complicated and compliance is complex.
 
BB&K is uniquely positioned to help our public and private clients navigate this challenging landscape. BB&K is recognized as a California Powerhouse for our water-related work, and our Environmental Law & Natural Resource practice is among the leading in the nation. Our lawyers have counseled clients on building, operating and maintaining water supply systems for more than a century, offering integrated, coordinated, cross-disciplinary knowledge and experience to address and effectively resolve all water-related issues and concerns.
 
We literally wrote the book on California water law, an authoritative treatise that addresses the many complicated issues that arise regarding water rights, supply and quality. Our water law lawyers have played an integral role in advocating and helping to develop water-related policies and regulations.
 
On the Cutting Edge of Water Law
Always on the cutting edge when it comes to water issues, laws and regulations, we helped shape the grant and loan distribution guidelines of California’s Proposition 1, which authorized issuance of more than $11 billion in bonds to overhaul California’s water system. We were involved in drafting other water legislation, including the California Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, and one of our lawyers was selected by the United States Supreme Court to serve as Special Master of a large water rights dispute between two states. Through these various endeavors, we have gained extensive experience and a comprehensive knowledge of the rules and their application, making BB&K the go-to firm on water issues.
 
Comprehensive Service
From environmental concerns to water rights, water quality, wastewater recycling, sewage treatment, stormwater and solid waste management systems to infrastructure development, construction and finance, BB&K lawyers are experienced in addressing the issues that water projects implicate. We advise cities, counties, water districts, public agencies and private clients, devising innovative and cost-effective solutions that assure compliance with all legal requirements and regulatory restrictions.

Our lawyers often team with engineers, environmental consultants and architects to offer guidance and develop the best possible solutions for our clients. Additionally, we assist clients with:

  • Permitting, approvals, land use, zoning and siting issues
  • Treatment, storage and distribution of water resources
  • Remediation and restoration
  • Wetlands
  • Compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, California’s Porter-Cologne Water Quality Act, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System and all other applicable environmental laws, including California Environmental Quality Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, and the Endangered Species Act


BB&K maintains an extensive Environmental Litigation practice that engages nearly a quarter of the firm’s lawyers and utilizes the firm’s knowledge and experience to effectively resolve issues before regulatory bodies and in courts at all levels.

How Can Government Relations Help You?

Environmental, water, telecommunications and transportation projects by both public agencies and businesses can benefit from our advocacy services. Let us help you be heard!

Learn more about BB&K's Government Relations services.

Areas of Focus: Endangered Species | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Environmental Litigation | General & Special Counsel | Special Districts | Water
Areas of Focus: Business | Business Litigation | Trusts & Estates
Areas of Focus: California Public Utilities Commission | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Renewable Energy | Transportation | Water
Areas of Focus: Environmental Law & Natural Resources | General & Special Counsel | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Special Districts | Water
Areas of Focus: Economic Development, Real Estate & Affordable Housing | Elections | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Public Contracts & Construction
Areas of Focus: Endangered Species | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Government Relations | National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) | Public-Private Partnerships | Water | Water Quality
Areas of Focus: California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) | Endangered Species | Environmental Law & Natural Resources | Land Use, Planning & Zoning | National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) | Water
Areas of Focus: Environmental Law & Natural Resources | General & Special Counsel | Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) | Municipal Law | Public Contracts & Construction | Special Districts
Areas of Focus: Economic Development, Real Estate & Affordable Housing | Environmental Litigation | Municipal Law | Public Agency Litigation | Special Districts | Water
Areas of Focus: Environmental Law & Natural Resources | General & Special Counsel | Government Policy & Public Integrity | Municipal Law | Public Contracts & Construction | Special Districts
BB&K Event Nov 09, 2020

AEP 2020 Virtual Conference

Association of Environmental Professionals

Nevada Water Rights Victory
Client Successes Sep 22, 2020

Nevada Water Rights Victory

BB&K Attorney Rod Walston Successful in Public Trust Doctrine Dispute in Nevada Supreme Court

Financing Options and Strategies for Groundwater Sustainability Plan Development
BB&K Webinar Sep 17, 2020

Financing Options and Strategies for Groundwater Sustainability Plan Development

BB&K Free Webinar

BB&K Attorney Nicholaus Norvell Named a Top 40 Under 40 in San Diego
Press Releases Sep 11, 2020

BB&K Attorney Nicholaus Norvell Named a Top 40 Under 40 in San Diego

San Diego Daily Transcript Recognizes Young Professionals

Critical Habitat Designation Regulation Change Proposed
Legal Alerts Sep 10, 2020

Critical Habitat Designation Regulation Change Proposed

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Proposes New Rule Regarding Exclusion of Lands from Critical Habitat for Federally Listed Species

DWR Releases Draft Guidebook for 2020 Urban Water Management Plans
Legal Alerts Sep 08, 2020

DWR Releases Draft Guidebook for 2020 Urban Water Management Plans

Stakeholders Have Until Sept. 21 to Review and Comment

California Supreme Court Clarifies Ministerial vs. Discretionary Actions Under CEQA for Well Construction Permits
Legal Alerts Sep 01, 2020

California Supreme Court Clarifies Ministerial vs. Discretionary Actions Under CEQA for Well Construction Permits

Decision in Protecting Our Water and Environmental Resources v. County of Stanislaus Case

36 BB&K Attorneys Recognized on The Best Lawyers in America List for 2021
Press Releases Aug 20, 2020

36 BB&K Attorneys Recognized on The Best Lawyers in America List for 2021

Three Named “Lawyers of the Year” and One Included on “Ones to Watch” List

EPA Issues Final Rule to Narrow Scope and Timelines for State Water Quality Certifications
Legal Alerts Jun 05, 2020

EPA Issues Final Rule to Narrow Scope and Timelines for State Water Quality Certifications

Changes to Clean Water Act Section 401 Certifications

BB&K Partner Arthur Littleworth Profiled in TV Documentary
BB&K In the News May 21, 2020

BB&K Partner Arthur Littleworth Profiled in TV Documentary

Water Attorney Who Helped Riverside School Desegregation Featured in “A Good Life”

Partner Michael Riddell Discusses Water Rights on Bloomberg Law Podcast
BB&K In the News May 20, 2020

Partner Michael Riddell Discusses Water Rights on Bloomberg Law Podcast

Roundtable Discussion Includes Litigation, SGMA, Conservation and More

Groundwater Sustainability Plans: What We Now Know and What is Yet to be Learned
BB&K Webinar May 12, 2020

Groundwater Sustainability Plans: What We Now Know and What is Yet to be Learned

BB&K Free Webinar

Supreme Court Decision Creates New Standard for Clean Water Act NPDES Permit
Legal Alerts Apr 23, 2020

Supreme Court Decision Creates New Standard for Clean Water Act NPDES Permit

County of Maui v. Hawai’i Wildlife Fund

Stormwater Permitting at Schools and Community Colleges
BB&K Webinar Apr 22, 2020

Stormwater Permitting at Schools and Community Colleges

BB&K Free Webinar

Final Rule Narrowing Clean Water Act Jurisdiction to be Published Tomorrow
Legal Alerts Apr 20, 2020

Final Rule Narrowing Clean Water Act Jurisdiction to be Published Tomorrow

EPA and Army Corps of Engineers New “Waters of the U.S.” Definition Takes Effect on June 22*

COVID-19: Water Shutoff Moratorium for Homes and Critical Small Businesses
Legal Alerts Apr 03, 2020

COVID-19: Water Shutoff Moratorium for Homes and Critical Small Businesses

California Governor Restricts Water Supply Discontinuation for Non-Payment

 The EPA’s National Water Reuse Action Plan
Legal Alerts Mar 10, 2020

The EPA’s National Water Reuse Action Plan

Joint Plan Aims to Meet Rising Water Demands

Using Green Bonds to Help Your Public Agency Further its Public Policy Goals
BB&K Webinar Mar 05, 2020

Using Green Bonds to Help Your Public Agency Further its Public Policy Goals

BB&K Free Webinar

SGMA and Groundwater Rights: To Adjudicate or Not to Adjudicate
BB&K Webinar Feb 20, 2020

SGMA and Groundwater Rights: To Adjudicate or Not to Adjudicate

BB&K Free Webinar

PublicCEO: BB&K Municipal Law Team Discusses New Public Agency Laws - Part 2
Authored Articles & Publications Feb 13, 2020

PublicCEO: BB&K Municipal Law Team Discusses New Public Agency Laws - Part 2

Land Use, Telecommunications, Environmental and More

BB&K Team Helps Secure $325 Million in Border Water Projects
Client Successes Feb 11, 2020

BB&K Team Helps Secure $325 Million in Border Water Projects

USMCA and Federal Funds to Address Pollution Problem

PFOA and PFOS Response Levels Lowered for California Drinking Water
Legal Alerts Feb 06, 2020

PFOA and PFOS Response Levels Lowered for California Drinking Water

New Thresholds Impact Wider Swath of Public Water Suppliers

Event Jan 24, 2020

34th Annual Land Use Law & Planning Conference

UCLA Extension Public Policy Program

Final Rule Narrowing Clean Water Act Jurisdiction
Legal Alerts Jan 23, 2020

Final Rule Narrowing Clean Water Act Jurisdiction

EPA and Army Corps of Engineers Give New Waters of the U.S. Definition

BB&K Partner Andre Monette Testifies Before U.S. House Natural Resources Subcommittee on FISH Act
Press Releases Jan 17, 2020

BB&K Partner Andre Monette Testifies Before U.S. House Natural Resources Subcommittee on FISH Act

Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Legislative Hearing on H.R. 4723

Southern California Super Lawyers 2020
Press Releases Jan 17, 2020

Southern California Super Lawyers 2020

Nine BB&K Attorneys Earn Recognition

New Environmental and Telecommunications Laws
Legal Alerts Jan 13, 2020

New Environmental and Telecommunications Laws

Part 3: California Laws Impacting Public Agencies for 2020

Eight BB&K Attorneys Promoted to Partner
Press Releases Jan 02, 2020

Eight BB&K Attorneys Promoted to Partner

Additional Changes at Firm Reflect Growth, Diversification

Managing Partner Eric Garner Named Environmental Law MVP
Press Releases Dec 17, 2019

Managing Partner Eric Garner Named Environmental Law MVP

Water Law Veteran Honored by Law360

Event Dec 03, 2019

ACWA 2019 Fall Conference & Exhibition

Association of California Water Agencies

BB&K Prevails on Summary Judgment, Ensuring Drinking Water Access to Residents
Client Successes Nov 18, 2019

BB&K Prevails on Summary Judgment, Ensuring Drinking Water Access to Residents

Attorneys Christopher Deal and Christina Morgan Represented Real Property Buyers

Land Use Planning, Water Supply Planning and SGMA
BB&K Webinar Nov 08, 2019

Land Use Planning, Water Supply Planning and SGMA

BB&K Free Webinar

Cities Issuing Business Licenses Will Need to Verify NPDES Permits First
Legal Alerts Nov 06, 2019

Cities Issuing Business Licenses Will Need to Verify NPDES Permits First

What California Cities Need to Know to Comply with SB 205

BB&K Achieves High Marks in “Best Law Firms” Rankings for 2020
Press Releases Nov 01, 2019

BB&K Achieves High Marks in “Best Law Firms” Rankings for 2020

U.S. News-Best Lawyers in America Annual List Recognizes Many of the Firm’s Premier Practice Areas

Clean Water Act: 2015 Jurisdiction Rule Repeal Set to Take Effect Dec. 23
Legal Alerts Oct 30, 2019

Clean Water Act: 2015 Jurisdiction Rule Repeal Set to Take Effect Dec. 23

WOTUS Definition Court Challenges Continue

BB&K Event Oct 24, 2019

2019 California Rates 101 Workshop

Raftelis Workshop

Groundwater Recharge Projects Get Boost Under AB 658
Legal Alerts Oct 16, 2019

Groundwater Recharge Projects Get Boost Under AB 658

New California Law to Help Achieve SGMA Requirements

[WEBINAR] Navigating California’s New Regulations for Wetlands and State Waters
Videos Oct 10, 2019

[WEBINAR] Navigating California’s New Regulations for Wetlands and State Waters

BB&K Webinar

Navigating California’s New Regulations for Wetlands and State Waters
BB&K Webinar Oct 10, 2019

Navigating California’s New Regulations for Wetlands and State Waters

BB&K Free Webinar

Budget-Based Water Rates Challenge Dismissed
Client Successes Oct 08, 2019

Budget-Based Water Rates Challenge Dismissed

BB&K Successfully Defends Water District

California Issues the Nation’s Strictest Notice Levels for PFAS in Drinking Water
Legal Alerts Sep 03, 2019

California Issues the Nation’s Strictest Notice Levels for PFAS in Drinking Water

New Response Thresholds and Regulations in the Works for Public Water Suppliers

Partner Shawn Hagerty a San Diego Top Attorney
Press Releases Aug 19, 2019

Partner Shawn Hagerty a San Diego Top Attorney

Recognized for Land Use Planning, Water Quality and Municipal Law Work

The Best Lawyers Recognizes 31 BB&K Attorneys on 2020 List
Press Releases Aug 15, 2019

The Best Lawyers Recognizes 31 BB&K Attorneys on 2020 List

Including Seven Named as “Lawyer of the Year”

PFAS Concerns Trigger Regulatory and Legal Responses
Legal Alerts Aug 09, 2019

PFAS Concerns Trigger Regulatory and Legal Responses

Federal and State Governments and Courts Concerned About Toxicity and Water Contamination

Event Jul 25, 2019

SGMA’s Next Phase

Sustainable Groundwater Planning in California

Complying with America’s Water Infrastructure Act Requirements
Legal Alerts Jul 24, 2019

Complying with America’s Water Infrastructure Act Requirements

New Risk, Resilience and Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Community Water Systems

Irrigation District May Refuse Water Delivery to Rule Violators
Legal Alerts Jul 09, 2019

Irrigation District May Refuse Water Delivery to Rule Violators

Calif. Appellate Court Decision May Also Apply to Other Types of Water Providers

BB&K Contributes to Successful Rate Ordinance Defense
Client Successes Jul 01, 2019

BB&K Contributes to Successful Rate Ordinance Defense

Partner Kelly Salt Represented Public Agencies as Amicus Curiae

Event Jun 20, 2019

2019 California Water Law & Policy MCLE Conference

Argent Communications Group

Resolution Adopting New Water Rates Not Subject to Referendum
Legal Alerts Jun 18, 2019

Resolution Adopting New Water Rates Not Subject to Referendum

Calif. Court of Appeal Holds that Referendum Power Not Applicable to Local Water Rate Resolutions

Two BB&K Partners Named Coachella Valley Top Lawyers
Press Releases Jun 11, 2019

Two BB&K Partners Named Coachella Valley Top Lawyers

Henry Welles and Robert Hargreaves Selected by Palm Springs Life Magazine

SGMA: DWR Announces Draft Basin Prioritization
Legal Alerts May 02, 2019

SGMA: DWR Announces Draft Basin Prioritization

Comments Accepted Until May 30

"California Water," Third Edition
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

BB&K’s Christi Hogin and Andre Monette Honored for Amicus Work by IMLA
Press Releases Apr 24, 2019

BB&K’s Christi Hogin and Andre Monette Honored for Amicus Work by IMLA

The Attorneys Argued About Short-Term Rentals and the Clean Water Act in the Ninth Circuit

Tribe Lacks Standing in Water Suit
Client Successes Apr 24, 2019

Tribe Lacks Standing in Water Suit

Representing Desert Water Agency, BB&K Attorneys Won Partial Dismissal of Case

Five BB&K Partners Named to 2019 San Diego Super Lawyers List
Press Releases Apr 10, 2019

Five BB&K Partners Named to 2019 San Diego Super Lawyers List

All Are Returning to the Annual List

New Wetlands Protections in California Proposed
Legal Alerts Apr 04, 2019

New Wetlands Protections in California Proposed

SWRCB Votes to Adopt Regulations that Could Impact Permitting Procedures

Event Mar 30, 2019

IMLA 2019 Mid-Year Seminar

International Municipal Lawyers Association

Event Mar 25, 2019

2019 AEP California State Conference

Association of Environmental Professionals

Aquifer Management Success
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

Groundwater Rights Trial Earns Top Verdict Honor from Daily Journal
Press Releases Feb 22, 2019

Groundwater Rights Trial Earns Top Verdict Honor from Daily Journal

BB&K Leads Water Agencies’ Defense

Clean Water Act: Proposed WOTUS Replacement Rule Published in Federal Register
Legal Alerts Feb 15, 2019

Clean Water Act: Proposed WOTUS Replacement Rule Published in Federal Register

Comments Due by April 15

Event Feb 02, 2019

The Elephant in the Room: Adjudication Under SGMA

15th Annual California Water Law Symposium

Event Jan 18, 2019

33rd Annual Land Use Law and Planning Conference

UCLA Extension Public Policy Program

Comprehensive Update to the State CEQA Guidelines
Legal Alerts Jan 15, 2019

Comprehensive Update to the State CEQA Guidelines

Approved by California Natural Resources Agency

New Year, New Laws Impacting Public Agencies in California – Part II
Legal Alerts Jan 10, 2019

New Year, New Laws Impacting Public Agencies in California – Part II

Housing and Land Use and Environmental Laws Saw Changes in 2019

New Year, New Laws Impacting Public Agencies in California – Part I
Legal Alerts Jan 09, 2019

New Year, New Laws Impacting Public Agencies in California – Part I

2019 Brings Changes to Election, Revenue, Conflict of Interest, Property and Public Safety Laws… and More

BB&K Announces Three New Partners
Press Releases Jan 02, 2019

BB&K Announces Three New Partners

Additional Changes to Leadership Roles

Cities’ Struggles to Meet Obligations Are Real —  BB&K Municipal Law Team Grows to Help
Press Releases Dec 19, 2018

Cities’ Struggles to Meet Obligations Are Real — BB&K Municipal Law Team Grows to Help

New and Expanded Services and More Attorneys and Staff Added in 2018

Press Releases Dec 17, 2018

BB&K Welcomes Water and Environmental Partner Lowry Crook

Served Senior Positions with the Army Corps of Engineers and the White House

Proposed Federal Clean Water Rule Impacts Cities and Residents
Legal Alerts Dec 12, 2018

Proposed Federal Clean Water Rule Impacts Cities and Residents

Comments Being Sought

Water and Wastewater Bond Deal
Client Successes Dec 07, 2018

Water and Wastewater Bond Deal

BB&K Attorneys Served as Bond Counsel

Partner Andre Monette Discusses SCOTUS Clean Water Act Question with Law360
BB&K In the News Dec 04, 2018

Partner Andre Monette Discusses SCOTUS Clean Water Act Question with Law360

Invitation to Solicitor General for Opinion is Encouraging, He Says

Event Nov 27, 2018

ACWA 2018 Fall Conference & Exhibition

Association of California Water Agencies

Russell Behrens, 1936-2018
Press Releases Nov 08, 2018

Russell Behrens, 1936-2018

BB&K Proud to be Among the Best
Press Releases Nov 02, 2018

BB&K Proud to be Among the Best

U.S. News-Best Lawyers 2019 Rankings Released

BB&K’s Environmental Law & Natural Resources Practice Expands
Press Releases Oct 08, 2018

BB&K’s Environmental Law & Natural Resources Practice Expands

Firm Welcomes Four New Attorneys to Group

Event Oct 08, 2018

IBA Annual Conference 2018

International Bar Association

Statutory Authority to Adopt Fees Negates Any Potential State Mandate Funding
Legal Alerts Oct 04, 2018

Statutory Authority to Adopt Fees Negates Any Potential State Mandate Funding

California Appellate Court Finds There is No State Mandate When a Public Agency Has The Statutory Authority to Levy Fees

New Restrictions on Residential Water Service Discontinuation in California
Legal Alerts Oct 03, 2018

New Restrictions on Residential Water Service Discontinuation in California

SB 998 Will Require Written Policies, Detailed Notices and Alternative Payment Options

Groundwater Rights Jury Finds in Favor of Public Water Suppliers
Client Successes Oct 01, 2018

Groundwater Rights Jury Finds in Favor of Public Water Suppliers

BB&K Team Successfully Defends City in First-of-its-Kind Trial in California

Best Lawyers in America Lists 27 BB&K Attorneys for 2019
Press Releases Aug 21, 2018

Best Lawyers in America Lists 27 BB&K Attorneys for 2019

Representing a Variety of Practice Areas

Lauren Langer Video Bio
Videos Aug 14, 2018

Lauren Langer Video Bio

Partner

Groundwater Extraction Permits Not Subject to CEQA in San Luis Obispo County
Legal Alerts Aug 06, 2018

Groundwater Extraction Permits Not Subject to CEQA in San Luis Obispo County

Approval is a Ministerial Action, not subject to CEQA, Appellate Court Finds

Federal Draft Infrastructure Bill Released
Legal Alerts Jul 26, 2018

Federal Draft Infrastructure Bill Released

Aims to Provide Revenue to Repair Failing Infrastructure

Kavanaugh and the Clean Water Act
BB&K In the News Jul 20, 2018

Kavanaugh and the Clean Water Act

Partner Andre Monette Interviewed by Bloomberg Environment on SCOTUS Nominee

Event Jun 13, 2018

Water Projects: How to Successfully Navigate a Growing But Complicated Process

American Water Works Association

Event Jun 11, 2018

California Water Law & Policy Conference

Argent Communications Group

Governor Signs Historic Water Use Efficiency Bills
Legal Alerts May 31, 2018

Governor Signs Historic Water Use Efficiency Bills

AB 1668 and SB 606 Impose New or Expanded Requirements on California Water Agencies and Suppliers

BB&K Again a Top San Diego Law Firm
Press Releases May 17, 2018

BB&K Again a Top San Diego Law Firm

Firm Ranks No. 24 on San Diego Business Journal Annual List

Profile: BB&K CEQA Attorney Amanda Daams
BB&K In the News May 16, 2018

Profile: BB&K CEQA Attorney Amanda Daams

Riverside Lawyer Magazine Features the RCBA Barristers' Past President

Administrative Hearing Office Proposed for State Water Resources Control Board
Legal Alerts May 14, 2018

Administrative Hearing Office Proposed for State Water Resources Control Board

Proposed Legislation Would Provide for Efficient Hearings by Qualified Officers

Event May 08, 2018

ACWA CLE Workshop & Spring Conference

Association of California Water Agencies

BB&K Partner Paula de Sousa Mills a San Diego Best Attorney
Press Releases May 01, 2018

BB&K Partner Paula de Sousa Mills a San Diego Best Attorney

San Diego Metro Magazine Annual List

The Price of an Aging Infrastructure on the Environment
Videos Apr 24, 2018

The Price of an Aging Infrastructure on the Environment

The Bill is Due: Now What? Infrastructure, Pensions and the Environment

BB&K Event Apr 24, 2018

The Bill is Due: Now What? Infrastructure, Pensions and the Environment

A BB&K Premier Event

Event Apr 17, 2018

Does a Federal Reserved Right to Surface Water Extend to Groundwater?

ABA Water Law Conference

Event Apr 17, 2018

Now Comes the Hard Part… Implementing Groundwater Management Under SGMA

UCLA IoES Water Resources Group and UCLA School of Law's Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment

San Diego Super Lawyers 2018
Press Releases Apr 13, 2018

San Diego Super Lawyers 2018

Five BB&K Attorneys Recognized on Annual List

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