Water Law

Providing a Wide Variety of Services Relating to

Water Resources

Our attorneys advise clients on protecting, acquiring and changing existing water rights, as well as the creation of mitigation programs for water resources, including so-called “water banks”, wetland mitigation banks and in-lieu fee programs. Our firm routinely provides guidance on the implications of instream flow rules, watershed planning efforts and public water system requirements.

Water Right Administration and Transfers

Our attorneys provide counsel on an array of issues relating to water rights. Our work includes the development of innovative water transfer strategies, assisting water utilities, developers, and local governments in projecting future water demands. We assist clients in negotiating water right purchase and sale agreements, assessing value, performing due diligence and achieving the necessary regulatory approvals. We represent clients in active water right adjudication court cases, in addition to appealing and defending water right transfer approvals before administrative tribunals and courts.

Case Studies

  • Developed a water supply strategy for a Master Planned Resort. Assisted the client in negotiating the acquisition of numerous water rights, State Environmental Policy Act compliance, state and local permitting authorization and mitigation obligations.
  • Assisted a public water system in the consolidation of numerous water rights. Our attorneys advised the client on securing approvals from state and local entities to align the water right attributes with the existing water supply infrastructure.
  • Assisted a client in the due diligence to purchase a water right for an agricultural use. Our attorneys evaluated the historical beneficial use of the water right and the regulatory framework for securing state and local approvals.
  • Assisted clients in securing approvals to change attributes of water rights though Washington State Water Conservancy Boards, Washington Department of Ecology review and its Cost Reimbursement Program.
  • Provided expert testimony on the value of water rights in state and federal court.

Water Right Mitigation and New Uses of Water

New uses of water in many parts of the Western United States require mitigation to offset impacts to existing water users, State Instream Flow Rules and fish and wildlife impacts. Mentor Law Group assists clients in developing mitigation strategies to address water right transfers and establish new uses of water. In the State of Washington, the attorneys at Mentor Law Group have been at the forefront of developing water banks. Our attorneys assist clients in transferring water rights to instream flows for mitigation purposes and negotiate contracts to use those water rights to mitigate for new uses of water. We also work on innovative water resources projects for aquifer recharge and other mitigation impacts.

Case Studies

  • Assisted a client in developing one of the first so-called “water banks” in Washington State. Mentor Law Group attorneys advised the client in the process of transferring the water rights to the State Trust Water Right Program, negotiating the trust water right agreement authorizing the client to sell the beneficial interest for mitigation purposes. We also developed the process for assigning mitigation credits to new water users, conveying mitigation water to over 400 parcels since 2009.
  • Investigated mitigation opportunities for addressing impacts to an Instream Flow Rule adopted by the Washington State Department of Ecology for a client. We assisted the client in considering cost, timing and regulatory complexity for water storage and aquifer recharge.
  • Assisted a client proposing a subdivision regarding the water right permitting and land use permitting requirements for new uses of water, including requirements under the Growth Management Act.

Water Quality

We advise clients on matters relating to water quality, including securing the necessary permits and developing mitigation programs to address water quality impacts. Our attorneys provide counsel to clients on the creation and administration of In-Lieu Fee Mitigation Programs and wetland banking programs, authorized by the United States Army Corps of Engineers and state authorities, which can mitigate for water quality impacts of certain permits. We also represent clients in permit processing, negotiations and regulatory and enforcement proceedings before local and state agencies.

Case Studies

  • Aided a client in the development of a prospectus and program instrument, and approval of an In-Lieu Fee mitigation program. Assisted in the development of mitigation credit conveyance instruments and contracting documents.
  • Assisted a client in securing the necessary permits for undertaking canal dredging.
  • Assisted a client in securing the necessary permits for work within a designated shoreline area.