Parsons Behle & Latimer brings decades of in-depth experience when representing clients in water rights and water quality issues

Overview

It is has been said that water is the lifeblood of the West. The Water Rights, Quality & Infrastructure practice team at Parsons Behle & Latimer is focused on protecting and facilitating use of this essential resource. Our attorneys include specialists in both water rights, water quality and water infrastructure development and are prepared to represent your interests before state agencies and the courts.

Our Water practice team members support clients in Utah, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Washington. The team members have years of experience practicing before administrative agencies in each of these states, including the State Engineer and other state water offices in Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Washington, Division of Water Rights, Division of Water Quality, Public Service Commission and related agencies. Our attorneys also have extensive experience representing clients on water resource matters before state and federal courts.

Team

Key Contacts

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Experience

Ranch Acquisition

Represented Big Rock Capital, LLC in the acquisition of the Bar J Ranch, a 6,200 acre working ranch that is a private inholding in the Fish Lake National Forest with significant water rights, over 200 acres of irrigated farm land, eight miles of private fishing streams, elk, deer, bear and mountain lion habitat, and hunting privileges.

Transactional Negotiation Involving 3 Law Firms

This was a heavily negotiated piece of transactional work with litigation involving 3 law firms in the background. Cooler heads prevailed and a helpful motion spurred the parties to achieve a settlement no one one liked. This disputed transaction divided up over 30,000 acres of ranch and farm in four counties and also resulted in the sale of the family's Cattleman's Livestock Auction in Caldwell to a third party. Parson's was brought in to force a settlement, which we did. And the client acknowledges would not have been achieved without us.

Defended Against 362 Water Law Claims

In coordination with the State of Idaho and other objectors, assisted in defending against 362 claims filed by the United States and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and that risked the water supply for residents and businesses in the Coeur d’Alene Spokane River Basin.

Capabilities

Water Rights

Parsons Behle & Latimer's practice team is committed to helping clients preserve and maximize the beneficial use of their water rights. We assist clients from individual water right owners to large water suppliers with all aspects of managing and developing their water rights. Our works includes appropriating new water rights, changing existing water rights and preparing a variety of other filings on behalf of our clients. The team frequently appears at hearings before the:

  • The Utah Division of Water Rights, Office of the State Engineer
  • The Washington Department of Ecology
  • The Idaho Department of Water Resources
  • The Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation and Montana Department of Environmental Quality for Water Quality
  • The Nevada Division of Water Resources, Office of the State Engineer

Parsons' Water team also has extensive experience helping clients navigate the General Adjudication, from filing claims to defending against objections and adverse recommendations. 

The Water practice team has expertise with unique water right issues associated with water suppliers, such as municipalities, water companies, districts and irrigation companies. The team regularly assists clients with due diligence, valuation, drafting agreements and water right applications associated with purchase and sale of water rights either as a standalone asset, or in conjunction with real property. In addition, the team frequently advises lenders regarding how to secure water rights, water shares and water entitlements as collateral.  

Water Resources

Parsons Behle & Latimer's team of attorneys can assist in the development of new water resource projects and also in the protection and enhancement of existing projects. Whether it is Bureau of Reclamation transferred works, water delivery infrastructure owned by individual water purveyors or hydroelectric projects, Parsons has attorneys ready to assist in virtually every facet of water project development, repair and rehabilitation.

Water Infrastructure Development

Parsons Behle & Latimer's team of attorneys advise clients on each phase of the development of new water infrastructure projects, including siting, permitting, financing and construction. The team also advises clients regarding protection, modification and enhancement of existing projects. Whether it is Bureau of Reclamation transferred works, water delivery infrastructure owned by individual water suppliers or hydroelectric projects, Parsons has attorneys ready to assist in virtually every facet of water project development, repair and rehabilitation.

Water Quality

Parsons Behle & Latimer's environmental practice team has extensive experience in water quality permitting, enforcement and regulatory matters throughout the Intermountain West and other areas of the country, serving a diverse clientele that includes major mining and manufacturing companies; a variety of other industries; municipalities; commercial and residential developers; and state and national trade associations.

Our team routinely assists clients in obtaining permits and developing solutions to issues arising under federal Clean Water Act (CWA) permitting programs administered by state agencies and/or the Environmental Protection Agency. We have extensive experience working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on behalf of a variety of clients to obtain jurisdictional determinations and, as necessary, permits under the “dredge and fill” permit program for activities in wetlands and other waters. The environmental practice group also has experience with CWA pretreatment matters including those involving Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) and the compliance requirements for indirect dischargers.

We work with clients to evaluate and comply with their obligations under the other state-administered water quality regulatory programs, including ground water permitting, aquifer source protection, underground injection control and other Safe Drinking Water Act requirements. We represent clients and industry coalitions in agency rulemakings for the establishment of water quality standards, with a focus on achieving pragmatic resolutions to regulatory challenges. To that end, we have assisted clients in a variety of jurisdictions with issues such as the development of site-specific standards, assessing the implications of the listing of “impaired waters,” and evaluating the corresponding development of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs).

 

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