Water law is a complex amalgamation of common law, statutory law, and regulations. Water law can be generally subdivided into two areas: water use rights; and restrictions on water pollution. However, water law can often involve other areas of the law like personal injury/damage issues, corporate liability issues, and other legal issues within the context of water use, pollution, or otherwise.
Water use law begins with the fundamental water rights of property owners to use water that abuts to the property owner’s land (riparian owners) without unreasonable interfering with the water rights of other landowners. A property owner’s water use may include withdrawing, using, and/or diverting the flow of surface water. A large body of state and federal statutes, as well as federal regulatory bodies, regulates certain uses of water, such as transfers of water from one river basin to another, withdrawal of groundwater from overused aquifers, impoundment of water and construction of wells.
Water pollution law is an incredibly complex and ever-changing area of the law, made up of common law and other regulatory programs. Water pollution law can involve areas of common law such as nuisance, trespass and negligence, but more often it involves an interwoven and overlapping network of federal and state statutes and regulations, including: state laws regulating surface water discharges from point sources; sedimentation and erosion; stormwater runoff; land uses in nutrient-sensitive waters and water supply watersheds; and sources of groundwater pollution. Other federal regulatory programs include regulation of wetlands and construction in navigable waters and establishment of total maximum daily loads in highly polluted surface water bodies.
Christensen & Jensen attorney Dave Richards is the chair of the firm’s water law practice group. He brings decades of experience to bear on a multitude of diverse water law issues. Christensen & Jensen has represented some of the largest water related entities in the state, as well as individual water users, shareholders and, water rights owners.
Water law services provided by Christensen & Jensen include:
Shareholder Derivative Suits
Canal and Dam Safety Compliance
Personal Injury and Property Damage
Development Activity Compliance/Planning and Zoning