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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.


  • 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 is an environmental litigator. His 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 country. 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

Jessica K. Ferrell

Jessica K. Ferrell

Jessica Ferrell is a litigator with 14 years of courtroom and advisory experience. She has an extensive background in energy and environmental law and policy. More

Kevin T. Haroff

Kevin Haroff

Kevin Haroff has represented Fortune 500 corporations, governmental entities, and private citizens in civil litigation, regulatory issues, and alternative dispute resolution matters for more than 30 years. More

Steve Odell


A top-tier litigator who has served in all three branches of the U.S. government, Steve has played a pivotal role in resolving some of the most complex and contentious issues in environmental, natural resources, and energy law in both the public and private sectors for more than 25 years.


Alexa M. Shasteen

Alexa Shasteen

Alexa Shasteen’s practice focuses on environmental, natural resources, and land use litigation, as well as environmental and product compliance and permitting. 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. He shares his time among each of the firm’s offices and is located in Sun Valley, Idaho. 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

Douglas McDougall and Jessica Ferrell represented 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