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Water Resources

Water Resources

Acquiring and Protecting Water Rights and Resources

Our attorneys help clients, including landowners, agricultural and industrial businesses, developers, water suppliers, governments, and lenders to resolve water resource issues involving rights to surface water and groundwater. Our lawyers have handled challenges over water rights before administrative hearings boards and in court. We identify, analyze, and implement plans to help our clients obtain, use, and preserve water sufficient to meet their needs through water contracts, watershed planning, general stream adjudication, water right litigation, well licensing, mitigation, and municipal water system development.

More Competition for Water Resources Lies Ahead: We Can Help

There are competing and increasing demands being placed upon a limited water supply by cities, industry, farms, tribes, recreation, fish, and wildlife. The water in the rivers, streams, and aquifers may seem plentiful, but current and projected uses in many parts of the country mean that adequate water supplies for all who wish to use it will be difficult to maintain. In this resource-constrained environment, we help our clients navigate through water controversies involving in-stream flows for endangered species, federal and tribal reserved rights, and water needed to support alternative energy projects.

Experience

  • Water Right Acquisitions, Changes, Transfers, Leases, and Trusts
  • Water Audits and Appraisals
  • Endangered Species Act Analysis, Audits, and Compliance
  • Federal Reserved and Tribal Rights
  • Water Rights Litigation and Adjudication
  • Mitigation
  • Bureau of Reclamation Water Contracts
  • Municipal Water System Development
  • Rainwater Harvesting
  • Takings Claims
  • Water Well Permits
  • Irrigation Issues
  • Dams, Reservoirs, and Hydroelectric Operations
  • Watershed Planning

Representative Client Matters

Evaluating, Obtaining, and Transferring Water Rights

Advised a timber company on availability of water rights for a potential 3,000 acre land purchase for logging and possible future development. Examined local development regulations, reviewed historic surface water and groundwater rights and uses on the subject property for abandonment and statutory relinquishment, and considered whether water was available for development. Analysis of water availability included options for obtaining new water rights or acquiring and transferring existing water rights.
Client successfully revised property development plans to address water supply risks.
Assisted a developer in analyzing the value of water rights and evaluating other environmental issues relating to the potential purchase of bankrupt former brewery property that included well-fields and potentially substantial water rights. Assisted developer with negotiations with the bankruptcy trustee and local governments interested in acquiring the former brewery's water rights through purchase or condemnation.
Client successfully revised water and property purchase plans to address water valuation issues.
Assisted a developer in evaluating water needs for planned residential development in Eastern Washington. Identified, analyzed, and prioritized available water rights for possible purchase and transfer. Participated in water right purchase negotiations with local agricultural water right holders.
Client successfully evaluated options for purchasing and transferring available water rights.

Permitting and Developing Water Supplies

Helped landowners evaluate developing, installing, and operating rainwater harvesting systems under the Washington Department of Ecology's proposed new San Juan County Island-wide water rights permits. Evaluated the interplay between the proposed rainwater harvesting permit and agreements governing local groundwater withdrawals.
Client successfully developing modern rainwater harvesting system in San Juan County, Washington.

Dams, Reservoirs, and Hydroelectric Operations

Advised water supply district on evaluating, maintaining, and revising water rights for hydroelectric dam operation and fish passage. Prepared water suppliers for water permit and dam safety negotiations with federal, state, and local regulators.
Client successfully raising reservoir pool height for dam and hydroelectric operation in Eastern Oregon.

Jeff B. Kray Practice Head

Jeff B. Kray

Jeff Kray's practice focuses on water quality, water resources, and complex environmental litigation, including Clean Water Act permitting and regulatory compliance, and CERCLA (Superfund) site remediation. He has represented public and private clients throughout the west. More

Douglas W. MacDougal Practice Head

Douglas W. MacDougal

Doug MacDougal has over 30 years of experience in water rights, natural resources, and real estate law. More

Brian K. Ferrasci-O’Malley

Brian Ferrasci-O’Malley

Brian Ferrasci-O'Malley's practice focuses on environmental and natural resource litigation, permitting, and review. He assists clients in cases arising under CERCLA, MTCA, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act. More

Jessica K. Ferrell

Jessica K. Ferrell

Jessica Ferrell's practice focuses on environmental and natural resource litigation. She represents public and private clients in cases arising under the Endangered Species Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, NEPA, CERCLA, MTCA, the Clean Water Act, and other federal, state, and local environmental laws. More

Kevin T. Haroff

Kevin Haroff

Kevin Haroff is the managing partner of the firm’s San Francisco office. He has represented businesses, individuals, and governmental entities in civil litigation and regulatory matters for more than 25 years. More

Zachary A. Kearns

Zachary A. Kearns

Zak Kearns’ practice focuses on environmental and natural resources litigation, energy, and environmental permitting and compliance. He works on cases arising under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, CERCLA, and other federal and state environmental laws. More

Linda R. Larson

Linda R. Larson

Linda Larson has over 25 years of environmental law and land use experience. Over the course of her career, she has managed numerous complex litigation matters. She has successfully resolved disputes ranging from site remediation to endangered species, and has particular experience with marine resources and sediments issues. More

Meline G. MacCurdy

Meline G. MacCurdy

Meli MacCurdy represents clients both in environmental litigation and environmental permitting and review. She has particular experience with brownfield redevelopment. She has defended cases under the Clean Water Act and the state and federal Superfund laws, and is assisting clients in fisheries matters and in issues involving climate change and energy. More

Russell C. Prugh

Russell C. Prugh

Russell Prugh's practice focuses on environmental and natural resources litigation, and environmental permitting for facilities and projects in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. Russell has particular experience with stormwater compliance issues, and represents clients in litigation arising under the Clean Water Act, CERCLA, MTCA, and other federal and state environmental laws. More

Daniel L. Timmons

Daniel L. Timmons

Daniel Timmons's practice focuses on environmental permitting and compliance, energy, and natural resources litigation. He brings a strong scientific background to his legal work, and has particular experience with water resources allocation and water quality issues. More

Terry T. Uhling

Terry T. Uhling

Terry advises the firm and its clients on strategic and complex matters across the spectrum of issues that affect agribusiness, food processing, mining, water and other natural resources rights. More

ECS Refining

We represent ECS Refining, one of the nation’s largest electronics recycling companies, in connection with a range of environmental compliance and enforcement matters, including compliance with state requirements governing the management of hazardous and “universal” wastes. More

Rogue Basin Water User’s Council: Bureau of Reclamation Section 7 ESA Consultation

Doug MacDougal represents the Rogue Basin Water User’s Council (RBWUC) in an ongoing Section 7 Consultation under the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). The matter involves the Bureau of Reclamation’s Rogue River Basin Project. More

Timber Company: Water Rights

We advised a northwest timber company on the availability of water rights for a potential 3,000 acre land purchase for logging and possible future development. More