River Authorities & Water Districts

Bickerstaff represents a wide variety of water districts, including special utility districts, river authorities, groundwater districts, and numerous other types of districts throughout the state. We provide experienced and comprehensive services to water district clients.

Our services include:

Surface Water Rights, Reuse Permitting, and Interbasin Transfers

Including assisting clients in obtaining, amending, and protesting permanent and temporary water rights permits, indirect reuse permits, direct reuse authorizations, and interbasin transfers, and representing clients before TCEQ and SOAH in contested cases regarding the applications;

Water Supply and Management, and Comprehensive Strategic Planning

Including advising clients on water management issues; assisting them in the development of water management plans; helping clients develop comprehensive strategic plans designed to maintain existing water supplies and identify and acquire additional supplies from sources, including groundwater, desalination, aquifer storage and recovery, reclamation and reuse, new reservoir construction, interstate water marketing, intrastate water transfers between basins, and conjunctive use;

Wholesale and Retail Water and Wastewater Supply Contracts

Including representing clients in contractual disputes relating to the provision of water or wastewater service; and negotiating and drafting wholesale raw and treated water supply contracts and wastewater treatment and disposal contracts;

Water Sales, Transfers and Leases and Water Marketing

Including assisting clients in the sale and transfer of surface water and groundwater rights; advising both sellers and purchasers in drafting and negotiating leases; and counseling clients on the acquisition of groundwater rights and related easements for use of the surface water;

Water Facility and Land Acquisitions and Sales

Including counseling clients in the acquisition of water facilities and associated real property, such as reservoirs, reservoir sites, flood easements, dams, diversion facilities, water transmission pipelines, utility easements, groundwater wells, and surface easements; and negotiating and preparing all necessary contractual documents in coordination with the financing of the project on behalf of clients;

Groundwater Districts

Including assisting groundwater districts in enforcing their rules and permitting requirements; aiding districts in drafting and adopting district rules; representing groundwater districts in the permitting of new and existing groundwater wells; advising clients on their fee structures; and providing general counsels services;

Water and Wastewater Utility Regulation

Including assisting clients in preparing, drafting, and adopting extension policies, utility infrastructure requirements, service applications, and service contracts with developers; and preparing rate ordinances and tariffs and advising clients on impact fees;

Certificates of Convenience and Necessity

Including representing clients in all types of matters involving water or wastewater CCNs, including the application process to obtain or amend CCNs, preparing and filing the CCN applications, providing the necessary notice, and litigating the CCN application, if opposed; and representing clients before the state agency and SOAH when CCN applications are filed by competing utilities, and in decertification and cease-and-desist actions;

General Counsel and Outside Counsel

Including representing river authorities, water districts, and groundwater districts in the capacity of general counsel; providing legal assistance on various matters, including employment matters, ethics issues, open records and open meetings matters, general and water-related litigation, voting rights issues, elections, annexations, and redistricting, and contracts and leases; assisting our clients in drafting and adopting rules and policies; preparing takings impact assessments, if necessary; and advising our clients on scope of authority issues;

District Creation and Legislative Representation

Including representing entities before the TCEQ and the Texas Legislature concerning the creation of water districts, groundwater districts, and utility districts; representing the interests of river authorities, water districts, and groundwater districts before the Texas Legislature; and defending entities in state court challenges to their enabling legislation and legislative authority;


Including identifying and obtaining financing for various types of water supply projects, such as reservoirs, and water transmission, distribution, and treatment systems from a variety of financing sources, including the Texas Water Development Board, the Texas Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the private sector; assisting clients in financing the acquisition of water rights and other water-related projects.