Here is what I asked seminar chairs, followed by their responses.
Click on the seminar title to read more detail as published in the Convention brochure.
Thursday, June 16, 2:00 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.
Chair: Bill Ralls
Who should attend this seminar?
All business, real property, environmental, administrative and regulatory attorneys and members of the State Bar of Arizona whose clients depend upon the availability of water to sustain future development in Arizona.
What is the main takeaway a lawyer will gain by attending this seminar?
There will be a future reduction in the water delivered to Arizona from the Colorado River, probably as early as 2018, With Colorado River water shortages on the horizon and limited groundwater, our interactive panel will analyze the priorities of water use under the Law of the Colorado River and state water policies to achieve sustainable development in Arizona.
How is this seminar timely?
State, federal and regional water officials are now developing water plans to meet the reductions in water supplies, and it is timely for all water stakeholders in Arizona to be involved in the development of water priorities and policies. Also this includes involvement of attorneys in state regulation of groundwater by the Arizona Department of Water Resources, particularly proposed changes in water regulation in rural areas to protect diminishing groundwater.
What is going on now in the world of law practice that makes this topic important?
Important active litigation in Arizona courts challenging state water regulators, including the federal Bureau of Land Management challenge to the ADWR for the approval of groundwater withdrawals which may impact the San Pedro River, one of the last free flowing rivers of Arizona, and the court challenge of the Residential Utility Consumers Office to the Arizona Corporation Commission rate ruling to recognize water improvements in rates between formal rate cases for customers of privately owned water companies.
What is the most common misconception about this issue?
The view that the common law of water determines water rights in Arizona. Since the landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Arizona v. California in 1963, which recognized the federal statutory allocation of Colorado River water, and continuing with the historic 1980 Arizona Groundwater Management, which established state administrative management of groundwater in Arizona, increasingly the state and federal regulators determine water rights.Follow @azatty