Water Law

The Texas population is about 25 million people. By 2030, Texas is projected to be home to more than 37 million—a significant increase with consequences for our water supply. We all need water to drink. Farmers and ranchers depend on water for crops and livestock. Oil and gas operators and electric power generators need water to provide us with energy. Our rivers, streams, lakes, and bays require sustainable fresh water supply to preserve and improve biodiversity and recreational water activities. These demands for water often compete with each other, especially in times of drought. Securing new supplies and protecting existing sources hinge on a strong understanding of the laws and policies that regulate water use in Texas. Our attorneys are uniquely qualified with decades of experience before water decision makers at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (“TCEQ”) and numerous groundwater districts, but also with an extensive practice before the Railroad Commission of Texas, General Land Office and the Environmental Protection Agency. Drawing from this experience, we counsel landowners, companies and environmental groups across the state towards achieving their water goals.

 

Groundwater and Surface Water Permitting

Landowners in Texas own the underlying groundwater, but groundwater districts can regulate its use in some respects. In contrast, the State of Texas owns the water in its streams, rivers and lakes, and use of that water is regulated by the State. Our firm helps clients with the complex permitting process obtaining legal rights to water supplies, and helps clients protect quality and ensure sustainability of an existing supply. This work can take form as collaboration with the proper agency or participation in a contested hearing. Over the years, the firm has represented clients in hundreds of contested hearings on various energy, environmental and water matters.

 

Water Transactions

Our firm helps negotiate the buying, selling and leasing of surface and groundwater rights. We strategize with our clients over the best source of water and the most effective path of securing supplies. We also draft and review necessary legal agreements. We work with groundwater districts or any agency with jurisdiction to make sure agreements comply with all applicable regulations.

 

Water Quality and Wastewater Disposal

The TCEQ can authorize the discharge of waste or pollutants from municipalities or industrial operations into the waters of the State. Discharges can potentially affect water quality. Our firm advises clients on obtaining or protesting the permits that must be issued prior to discharge. We also counsel clients on matters related to disposing wastewater by injection wells or evaporation ponds.

 

Injection Wells

Thousands of injection wells in Texas are used to dispose of wastewater produced as a byproduct with oil and gas, as well as wastewater generated from various other industrial activities. Our firm assists landowners and oil and gas operators concerned about proposed or existing injection wells.

 

Flowback/Produced Wastewater Recycling

As an alternative to disposing oil and gas wastewater down disposal wells, recycling for reuse has become an available alternative. Our firm advises clients on permitting and regulatory compliance for wastewater recycling facilities.