April 12, 2018

ABA conference to explore water law developments and trends

CHICAGO, April 12, 2018 — Regulators, practitioners and academics will examine new developments in water law at the 36th Annual Water Law Conference hosted by the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources April 16-18 at Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando.

Featured speakers include: 

Elizabeth Ann Peterson
, a lawyer in the appellate section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, who will discuss the federal reserved water rights doctrine in “Does a Federal Reserved Right to Surface Water Extend to Groundwater?: The Ninth Circuit’s Decision in Agua Caliente v. Coachella Valley Water District,” at 10-11:30 a.m. April 17. 

James DuBois, a lawyer with the Environment and Natural Resources Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, who will discuss “The Federal Role in Interstate Disputes” at 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. April 18.

What:      36th Annual Water Law Conference 
              Sponsored by the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources

When:     Monday-Wednesday, April 16-18     

Where:    Hilton Bonnet Creek
               14100 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane
               Orlando

Program highlights include:

·        Mandating “Natural Flows” in Managed Systems—Stories from East, West, and Science — Biologists report that freshwater aquatic ecosystems are exhibiting declines in biodiversity that far outpace those of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Recognizing that the myriad of human activities that alter natural flows have contributed to widespread degradation of freshwater habitat, more than a dozen states have adopted narrative or other minimum flow criteria for the protection of aquatic life. Learn the science behind these flow criteria from experienced practitioners including veteran water lawyers experienced with minimum flow regimes. Discover how the criteria can affect existing and prospective water rights and allocations on which clients depend, in both regulated riparian and prior appropriation contexts. The panel will also discuss how rights or permit holders can adjust, for example, by acquiring alternative sources of supply that are unlikely to be restricted at the same times.
April 17, 12:30 –2 p.m.

·        “Water Reuse: It’s Deja Vu All Over Again” — The ongoing Western drought and water supply pressures have focused much attention on reused water as a drought-proof water supply. Cities in Texas are implementing direct potable reuse. Repeated reuse to extinguishment of the resource is being discussed in Arizona. Colorado is considering allowing farmers to increase efficiencies and reuse the saved water to supplement instream flows. This panel will consider the legal and social issues associated with water reuse including public perception and the impacts on water rights in both riparian and prior appropriation states. Panelists will look at the future of direct and indirect potable reuse and how reuse is currently being addressed across the county. Reuse is an area of water law and water management in flux which will have significant impact on the future of the practice. Attendees will gain a deeper understanding of the technical, legal, and economic implications of water reuse.
April 18, 10-11:30 a.m.   

For a complete list of conference panels and speakers, please click here.

This conference is co-located with the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources 47th Spring Conference on April 18-20, allowing media to cover both events.

This event is open to members of the press. For media credentialing, please contact Jennifer Kildee at 202-662-1732 or Jennifer.Kildee@americanbar.org.

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