Water Rights

Water rights are the foundation of Western agricultural, municipal, and industrial development and operations, and are equally critical to the protection of key ecosystem values in many Western states. For private property owners, municipal suppliers, industrial operators, and environmental interests alike, understanding, protecting, and successfully changing the use of water rights is key to success and survival in a changing West. 

However, Western water rights law and administration is evolving rapidly as climate change and changing demand patterns take hold. Our team offers clients unprecedented insight into the current law, emerging trends, and potential risks involved in securing and using water rights and engaging in water right transactions.  We offer expertise in both state and federal laws governing water rights in various states including Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Texas, as well as the Law of the Colorado River.

Representative Experience

  • Representing a leading land development and investment company in the development of a major proposed trans-basin groundwater transportation, water firming, and water supply project in Central Arizona.
  • Representing investment funds, lenders, and developers with regard to water resource and agricultural land transactions, water rights transfers, and due diligence in Arizona, Nevada, California, and Colorado.
  • Representing a public pension fund and a private equity fund in the investigation, diligence and closing of a large agricultural and water rights portfolio.
  • Advising on transaction structures and policy approaches to facilitate leasing of agricultural water rights to benefit the Colorado River system.
  • Supporting the acquisition of water rights by non-profit water trusts to secure environmental flows, and advising on alternative legal approaches to provide instream flows via downstream water rights transfers, in-stream wheeling, and other approaches.
  • Representing a senior water rights holder in the investigation and proof of historic 1880s water rights claims in connection with a major proposed land development project.
  • Investigating federal reserved rights related to tribal and non-tribal federal reservations, and developing proposed strategies to settle reserved rights claims to reduce legal uncertainty for surrounding private landowners.
  • Developing a litigation strategy and supporting litigation of senior water rights against interference from upstream diversions.