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Water Law

The attorneys in Musick Peeler’s Water Law Group handle a wide range of regulatory and litigation matters and transactions involving water supply, rights, quality and conveyance issues. 

Our experience includes state water permits, bids and contracts, facilities construction, groundwater management and cleanup, water rates and fees, stormwater management, environmental and resources protection, wastewater treatment and collection, effluent discharge (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permits), recycled water, and enforcement – administrative, civil and criminal. We ensure that our clients are in compliance with local, regional, state and federal water quality, pollution, public health and workplace safety laws, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), federal reclamation regulations, United States Army Corps of Engineers standards, spill notification and cleanup requirements, endangered, protected and invasive species laws, migratory bird protections and in their management of surface and groundwater resources.

We represent clients in both the public and private sector, including municipalities, water districts, groundwater management and conservation districts, special districts, farming and agricultural interests, including food processing facilities and wineries, real estate interests and developers, and manufacturing and other commercial facilities and water consumers. In that role, for example, our Group’s attorneys successfully defended our client before the California Supreme Court in the matter of City of San Buenaventura v. United Water Conservation District, which resolved the constitutional question of whether groundwater extraction charges imposed by a groundwater conservation district are governed by California Proposition 26 or 218.

The Group’s attorneys have extensive transactional, regulatory, administrative and litigation experience in the following areas:

  • Implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
  • Water Rights Disputes and Adjudications
  • Public Agency Representation
  • Water Rates and Fees
  • Federal Reclamation Law and Contracts
  • Well-Sharing Contracts and Disputes
  • Stormwater Management
  • Groundwater Quality and Cleanup
  • California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
  • Endangered and Protected Species
  • Migratory Bird Treaty Act
  • Rights to Drainage
  • Water Supply and Land Use
  • Industrial and Sanitary Wastewater Collection, Pre-Treatment, Effluent Discharge and Recycled Water
  • Enforcement, including Administrative, Civil and Criminal (Local, State and Federal)

The Water Law Group works closely with the Firm’s Environmental, Land and Resources, Real Estate, and Litigation Groups to provide our clients with a full-range of subject matter expertise and uniquely qualified attorneys to successfully handle the myriad of issues in the water area.