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Water Law
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While other states have been addressing issues of surface and subsurface water rights for many years, the area of water law has only recently begun to assume prominence in Louisiana, long considered to be a "water-rich" state. In the past few years, the "water law" domain in Louisiana has seen extensive activity, including the enactment of new statutes governing surface water use, new administrative regulations governing groundwater use, and new opinions of the state Attorney General on the subject of surface water use and the potential liability of persons or entities who utilize surface water without authority. With committees and entities like the Louisiana Groundwater Commission at work drafting additional statutes, there can be no doubt that water law in Louisiana will continue to develop in the immediate future.

Jones Walker – the only law firm in Louisiana to establish a "water law" practice team--is at the forefront of the burgeoning field of Louisiana "water law". In addition to lecturing, presenting, and publishing on current water law issues, our attorneys have advised clients, including both private and state governmental entities, and participated in a wide variety of water-related matters. Based upon its extensive experience with water law issues and its ongoing commitment to monitoring and participating in the development of this area of law, Jones Walker is uniquely positioned to deliver "water law"-related services to its clients.

Recent water-related representations include:

Litigation

  • Representing subsurface natural gas storage operator in action against state relating to authority to brine new caverns; succeeding in having project-specific groundwater law ruled unconstitutional
  • Representing electrical power company in permit appeal involving contentious issue of groundwater rights in Louisiana

Transactional, Regulatory & Government Affairs

  • Negotiating, drafting, and assisting in obtaining necessary approvals of water sale agreements, including what will be one of the largest water sale agreements ever entered into in the State of  Louisiana by a state governmental entity involving the sale of impounded surface waters for anticipated use for public water supply in Texas
  • Advising with respect to, negotiating, and drafting water rights
    agreements, including leases for the exclusive use of groundwater from a municipality 
  • Negotiating and drafting agreements to obtain non-traditional
    alternative water sources, including agreements for the use of wastewater treatment effluent as a source of water to be used in the creation of subsurface hydrocarbon storage caverns
  • Advising oil and gas clients on water rights and options for water use in conjunction with fracking operations, including the use of groundwater, surface water, and/or non-traditional alternative water sources such as produced water
  • Advising state governmental entities with respect to the execution of
    their “public trustee” duties in conjunction with water sale agreements, including performance of the "IT Analysis" -- i.e., the detailed cost-benefit analysis required with respect to certain state actions with potential environmental impacts;
  • Assisting clients in applying for and obtaining permits for projects
    involving water use, including permits for Class III wells for the creation of subsurface hydrocarbon storage caverns; including advising clients with respect to permit-related submission of the "IT Analysis" as outlined above
  • Negotiating and entering“Louisiana Running Surface Water
    Cooperative Endeavor Agreements” with the State pursuant to Act 955 of 2010, including successfully petitioning the State to modify the form agreement for future agreements

Events

  • "Water Use Issues in Louisiana"