January 01, 2016

Don’t miss the 2016 Water Law Conference in Austin!

Susan M. Ryan

From innovative ways to allocate scarce water resources to U.S. Supreme Court case law updates, the 34th Annual Water Law Conference will have something for everyone. On March 29–30, 2016, the Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources will hold the Water Law Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Austin, Texas. Located in the heart of Austin, the conference features unique networking opportunities with top water law practitioners and academics from across the country as well as senior-level U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Justice officials.

Cutting-edge topics and engaging speakers

Tuesday and Wednesday’s CLE sessions will cover the latest developments in water law that are relevant to lawyers in all types of practice settings, from government to NGOs to private practice in firms of all sizes. Topics include:

  • Issues related to the effective management and allocation of scarce water resources;
  • How water conservation impacts water utilities and providers;
  • Developments under the Clean Water Act, including water quality challenges in Indian Country and the application of the Waters of the U.S. Rule;
  • Emerging developments in the management and allocation of groundwater resources between states;
  • Examples of effective outreach and communication in water disputes and transactions; and
  • Discussion of how to manage ethical conflicts, including the difference between business and ethical conflicts and how to work with outside counsel to resolve both.

The conference also highlights two keynote speakers—Carlos Rubinstein and John Cruden. As the former chair of the Texas Water Development Board and former commissioner of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Mr. Rubinstein will provide insight into local water resource and quality issues. On Wednesday, the Assistant Attorney General of the Environment and Natural Resources Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, John Cruden, will discuss key water disputes in the U.S. Supreme Court and explain the practical impacts of the Court’s decisions.

Meet water law experts from across the country

The Water Law Conference provides great opportunities to meet and network with water law practitioners in all sectors with diverse perspectives on water resources. The conference features:

  • A pre-conference dine-around event at local restaurants on Monday night;
  • A networking reception on Tuesday night;
  • Networking coffee breaks throughout the conference; and
  • An opportunity to meet Spring Conference attendees at the joint public service on Wednesday afternoon.

Keep Austin beautiful!

Following the conference, please join the Water Law Conference and Spring Conference attendees on Wednesday afternoon for a public service project along the shores of Lady Bird Lake. Participants will walk out the hotel’s back door and have the option to conduct clean up along the shore or jump into a kayak and grab trash and other items from the lake! There will also be an opportunity to conduct restoration work near the confluence of Shoal Creek and Lady Bird Lake.

Stay for the Spring Conference

The 45th Spring Conference will take place at the Hyatt Regency in Austin on March 30–April 1, 2016, after the Water Law Conference. The Spring Conference will inform you about recent developments in air, water, waste, and government enforcement and “hot topics” in environmental, energy, and resource law. Discounted rates for registering for both the Water Law and Spring Conference are available, so take advantage of this unique opportunity!

Kickoff webinars and a conference discount

To kick off the Water Law Conference, the Section is hosting three webinars and offering a $95 discount off the registration fee for the Water Law Conference for anyone who registers for any of the following three webinars. 

  • Look But Don’t Touch: How Water Quality Regulation Affects Water Availability. On January 26, 2016, we will hear from a panel of experts about how federal laws and programs are impacting the availability of water. The panelists will focus on Clean Water Act regulatory programs as well as laws that protect threatened species and habitat.
  • Food Grows Where Water Flows—State Laws and Growers Adapt to Water Scarcity. In early February 2016, a panel of experts will offer three perspectives on changing legal regimes that affect the availability of water for agriculture. The webinar will address the legal frameworks used in California, Arizona, and Nebraska to deal with water shortages for agriculture.
  • Using Private/Public Partnerships for Water Development. In late February 2016, a panel of speakers will provide focused information about the concepts and alternative solutions of private/public partnerships in the water supply and wastewater sector, with several case studies of recent successful projects in both the western and eastern United States.

See you in Austin!

We hope to see you in Austin for learning, networking, music, and good food.

Susan M. Ryan


Susan M. Ryan of Ryley Carlock & Applewhite in Denver is the planning chair of the 34th Annual Water Law Conference.