Water Law

Crowley Fleck’s Water Law team brings regional expertise to both complex and routine water law matters. The prior appropriation, or “first in time, first in right,” doctrine is the basis of most western states’ water laws, but different states have varying administrative and judicial systems for permitting, adjudicating, amending and transferring water rights. Crowley Fleck brings together attorneys licensed in several states with extensive experience in all facets of water law, providing its clients with comprehensive representation in both surface and ground water matters, wherever the projects are located.

Comprehensive Water Law Practice

Our Water Law team’s knowledge and experience encompasses all aspects of water law, from evaluating and documenting transfers of water rights in complex, multi-million dollar commercial transactions to assisting farmers and ranchers in obtaining or amending water rights. We provide our clients with a full range of water right services, including water right searches, water right title opinions and water right ownership issues, permitting, adjudication, changes in use and place of use, sales and transfers, valuation, marketing, water counseling on supply and development, acquisition due diligence, documentation of water rights in secured transactions, and representation in administrative and judicial forums.

Other Water-Related Matters

Crowley Fleck’s water law attorneys also represent clients with other water-related matters, such as ditch disputes; access and maintenance issues; water marketing; incorporated ditch company, drainage ditch and irrigation district matters; municipal water rights; permitting for water-related infrastructure; environmental compliance; and state and federal water quality matters. We represent a diverse spectrum of clients, including those in the energy, agriculture, mining, industrial, land development and governmental sectors.

Water Right Transactions

The value of water rights in a transaction can often equal or exceed the value of land. This makes it essential for buyers, sellers and lenders to understand the implications of water rights associated with property transactions. Since water rights can in some cases be detached from property, a thorough evaluation of water rights in a transaction is essential to ensure the intent of the parties is carried out and water rights are not overlooked or improperly documented. Crowley Fleck is well versed in assisting clients in transactions involving water rights and ensuring clients’ interests are protected, whether the matter is simple due diligence or a more complicated transaction with water rights that have or will be severed from the land for marketing, buying, selling, leasing, transferring or collateralizing water rights.

Teamwork

Managing complex water right projects often requires a multi-disciplinary team approach, requiring legal, technical and engineering expertise. Crowley Fleck’s attorneys have a wealth of experience assembling and leading team efforts, and have longstanding relationships with some of the most talented engineering, surveying and water rights consultants in the region. These connections help us advise our clients in selecting and retaining outside technical experts, compiling the best team to manage complex water matters in a cost-effective and efficient manner.