Rutan represents governmental water agencies both as their general counsel and on special counsel matters; and we also advise and represent landowners, developers, industrial and commercial entities, financial institutions, and other private clients on a wide variety of water rights and water service issues.
As an integral part of our general counsel representation of water districts and cities with water departments, we regularly advise our clients with respect to their rights and duties as public water purveyors. In addition to the laws applicable to all local governmental agencies, our water agency general counsel practice includes advising clients on issues that specifically affect water agencies, including rate setting (under both Proposition 218 and 26); connection and capital facility fees; supply discrimination and extra-territorial service issues; service area annexations and detachments of territory; relationships with wholesalers and other utilities; groundwater management, including compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 (“SGMA”); public works construction issues, including design-build and other forms of public-private partnerships; and easements, joint use agreements and “prior rights” issues.
We also represent public agencies on a wide variety of interagency issues, including the sale and storage of water, water transfers and “wheeling,” and joint powers authorities and similar contractual relationships for shared and regional facility construction and use.
Rutan represents both public and private clients on the full spectrum of water rights issues, including overlying, appropriative, riparian and contractual water rights. We have assisted governmental and private clients in water appropriation proceedings before the State Water Resources Control Board, the purchase and sale of adjudicated groundwater rights, and establishing known-regulated water rights. Attorneys of the firm have negotiated with regional wholesale water agencies regarding water supply, storage and transmission issues, and have participated in a wide variety of judicial and administrative adversarial proceedings relating to water rights.
The firm also has broad experience representing both governmental agencies and private clients with respect to compliance with, and litigation involving, CEQA and NEPA issues, as well as the Endangered Species Act and related and federal legislation, that affect water supply and facility projects. Attorneys of the firm have advised clients with respect to compliance issues pertaining to the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act, and have worked with agency staff and consultants in processing applications for CWA permits and SDWA and “Prop 13” grants and loans for water infrastructure. We have also worked with public agencies to address CWA, SDWA and NPDES issues relating to the development and operation of water supply projects, and regularly advise our clients on issues relating to water quality legislation (e.g., CWA, SDWA, Porter-Cologne Act, and the federal and state statutes addressing runoff and stormwater and other flows into jurisdictional waters), and hazardous materials (e.g., Proposition 65, CERCLA, RCRA, and the corollary state laws). Finally, our attorneys are well-recognized in the field of water quality and have experience in all facets of regulatory litigation proceedings before Regional Water Quality Control Boards and in NPDES matters.