Water Rights and Water Supply
In California, water rights and water supply fit hand-in-hand, and we believe that the East Coast has begun to follow the Golden State’s lead. In the Southeast, Alston & Bird is representing a municipal party in the multidistrict Tri-State Water Rights Litigation involving seven separate cases, with parties that include the states of Georgia, Florida and Alabama, as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Alston & Bird understands the relationship between water rights and water supply and counsels both public and private clients to achieve a diversity of water-related objectives. In the public sector, our Water Resources Group provides special and general counsel services to various types of water districts and regional groundwater agencies, providing advice on matters concerning surface and groundwater rights, storage rights, water supply, infrastructure management and conjunctive use projects and programs; private water interests also look to Alston & Bird for legal counsel. In a time of intensifying water demands on both coasts, principles of water marketing and planning are commanding more attention, particularly from developers, water companies and private water right holders. Our water resources attorneys help resolve the legal issues related to our clients’ water marketing and planning strategies, allowing new ideas to blossom. We have firsthand experience resolving matters involving SB 221/SB 610 compliance, State Water Project and Colorado River supplies on the West Coast, and water quality concerns, water transfers and exchanges, annexations, and water district formations on both coasts.
Environmental Compliance, Permitting, Enforcement and Variances
Few firms in the country can match the scope of Alston & Bird’s environmental experience. We have an extensive record of involvement with federal and state environmental regulatory matters, including all aspects of water quality control laws, permitting and enforcement programs. Our extensive experience with both EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers allows us to expertly guide clients through both wetlands and water permitting. Our Water Resources Group provides counsel relating to recycled and reclaimed water uses, wastewater discharges, groundwater contamination and remediation, and a host of permitting and compliance issues. We also advise clients regarding TMDLs, the California Toxics Rule and other emerging water quality regulations. Our offices are particularly knowledgeable on the legal issues arising under CEQA, NEPA and the federal and state Endangered Species Acts, and we have counseled countless clients through the environmental review process, which is an ever-present influence on water resource matters.
Groundwater Management, Conjunctive Use and Watershed Development
Watershed management and conjunctive use are the water industry watchwords for the 21st century. Alston & Bird regularly counsels public and private clients in connection with watershed/groundwater basin management plans and conjunctive use projects, addressing issues such as groundwater storage rights, recycled and reclaimed water projects, stream and flood controls, and regulatory oversight. Partnering with clients at the policymaking and implementation levels of watershed management and conjunctive use is a trademark of our success.
Local and Regional Infrastructure Projects, Water Reclamation and Desalination Projects
Water resources law involves more than protecting existing rights; it also involves planning for the future. Alston & Bird has proudly represented several regional water agencies and municipalities in planning and developing major water infrastructure and reclamation projects, including tertiary water treatment programs, seawater barrier systems, desalination plants and other water reclamation efforts. Our Water Resources attorneys help public and private entities pave the way for these important capital projects, resolving legal issues related to water rights, environmental compliance and regulatory approvals.
People solve problems. With this fundamental belief, our Water Resources Group has worked for years to develop excellent working relationships with various federal agencies, including the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, whose decision-making processes directly affect the water industry. We have equally strong contacts at the state level within California and Georgia state legislatures, city councils and county boards and commissions statewide. These relationships enable efficient and effective advocacy at the administrative and legislative levels, adding tremendous value to our legal services for water-related needs.