Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard was established in 1959 with a focus on water and water-related resource law. Founders Stanley Kronick and Adolph Moskovitz first met in 1950 when they shared an office as staff attorneys for the Regional Counsels Office of the Bureau of Reclamation where they formulated the water allocation plan that altered California’s water policy and became the basis for the water and hydroelectric projects implemented by Governor Edmund G. Brown that have helped the California economy flourish for more than five decades. The complexity of legal and governance issues related to water quickly led Kronick into other areas of public agency law intensifying our experience throughout the complicated network of regulatory agencies and at every level of the state and federal court systems, including the United States Supreme Court.
California’s water law and policies continue to evolve, and Kronick remains at the forefront assisting public agencies and other users in shaping those laws and policies. Kronick attorneys develop and implement strategies to achieve client objectives while complying with new laws and policies. Kronick has experience with all aspects of water supply development and management as general or special counsel to a broad spectrum of clients; including cities, counties, special districts, farmers, ranchers, mutual water companies, real estate developers, financial institutions, and private landowners. We work constructively with stakeholders to anticipate challenges, identify common ground, and design practical solutions to achieve success for each client operating in the water industry.
Kronick attorneys are well versed in imported and groundwater supply issues. With regard to imported water supplies, Kronick represents a variety of interests, and thus, brings a broad perspective to solving problems, not just one focused on particular local issues. We have represented the Kern County Water Agency, one of the largest State Water Contractors, since the Agency’s inception, and in that role helps navigate the ever-changing world of the State Water Project. Our attorneys are involved in numerous CEQA and NEPA challenges, negotiations regarding the Monterey Amendments, and have handled many water transfers for State Water Project clients. We have extensive experience related to water supply analysis including assessing the sufficiency of water supplies to sustain new development projects pursuant to SB 610/221. Our attorneys also represent many clients who are dependent on imported supplies from the federal Central Valley Project as well as municipalities and other public agencies dependent on a variety imported water supplies. This breadth of knowledge across water supply sources and recipients prepares us to provide sound advice on most water supply issues. This knowledge relates to the wholesale, retail, and end-user customer aspects of imported supplies.
With regard to groundwater supplies, our attorneys have extensive experience in this specialized area of law. We represent several public agencies that rely extensively on groundwater supplies as well as private landowners with wells, from independent homeowner to very large agricultural operations. Our attorneys participated in several basin-wide groundwater adjudication proceedings. It is no secret that Government is tightening regulation of groundwater use in response to intensifying demand. The state’s new Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (“SGMA”) took effect January 1, 2015. The state has ranked 127 groundwater basins as high or medium priority under the Act. Cities, counties or water agencies in high- and medium-priority basins must adopt regulatory plans to correct or prevent groundwater overdraft. Depending on local circumstances, the plans might prohibit new wells, monitor and cut pumping, and impose fees. Starting in 2020, the state will review local plans to determine whether to impose more restrictive state pumping regulations.
Meanwhile, groundwater disputes are on the rise. Entire groundwater basins are being adjudicated to determine pumping rights that divide a basin’s safe yield among competing users. One pending environmental lawsuit seeks to prohibit local well-drilling permits unless surface streams are protected from effects of groundwater pumping. And groundwater impacts are receiving more attention during California Environmental Quality Act review.
Kronick attorneys are at the forefront of these intense new issues. We represent clients that are newly formed Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (“GSA’s”) and helped form them whether it be through Joint Powers Agreements, Memorandum of Agreements (or Understanding), or by expanding the powers of an existing public agency. We are continuing to help form governance structures for these entities. We will be there to provide advice as the next phase of SGMA begins on July 1st – preparing Groundwater Sustainability Plans. Our unique capability includes have two attorneys that are also Professional Engineers specializing in water resources and groundwater.
Kronick attorneys regularly acquire and defend water rights and entitlements (both groundwater and surface water rights), contractual entitlements and petitions for change. We have considerable experience representing clients before state and federal regulatory agencies, including State Water Resources Control Board, Regional Water Quality Control Boards, Public Utilities Commission, State Lands Commission, State Reclamation Board, Department of Fish and Game, Army Corps of Engineers, National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.