Law Seminars International Presents:

The Sixth Annual Comprehensive Conference on

Tribal Water in the Southwest

Major new developments for Tribal water rights: policy, regulations, settlement processes, infrastructure, and delivery challenges

March 7 & 8, 2019

Laveen, AZ

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Program Overview

Who Should Order

Attorneys, Tribal, local, state and federal governmental representatives, environmental professionals, industry executives, water users and their representatives

Why You Should Order

Water scarcity remains a major concern in the Southwest and climatological forecasts for both near and long term water supplies show that it is a very legitimate concern. Tribal water rights will remain an important consideration for water planning and resource allocation throughout the region. Many Tribes are still seeking to settle their water rights claims and the ones with settlements face implementation challenges.

This year we again offer comprehensive coverage of the critical Tribal water issues in the Southwest. This includes an update on the Lower Colorado River Basin Drought Contingency Plan and what to expect moving forward. In addition to the challenges, there are new opportunties for Tribes including use of reclaimed water to stretch supplies and participation in water markets for Tribes with water beyond that required for meeting Tribal needs.

Adding to the inherent complexity of Tribal water rights issues are current political considerations and the need to reconcile federal environmental law with Tribal and private water use. This Conference will present a comprehensive and timely overview of the legal and practical issues impacting Tribal water. We hope you'll be able to join us for what promises to be a lively and informative discussion.

~ Linus Everling, Esq. of Gila River Indian Community and Jason T. Hauter, Esq. of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Program Co-Chairs

What You Will Learn

  • ~ Federal Tribal water policy trends
  • ~ Tribal water case law trends
  • ~ Water supply forecasts for the Southwest
  • ~ Use of reclaimed water to stretch supplies
  • ~ Lower Colorado River Basin Drought Contingency Plan
  • ~ Water marketing as an opportunity for Tribes
  • ~ Leasing Tribal lands for irrigated farming
  • ~ Trends for Tribal water rights settlements
  • ~ How to present an effective Case on Tribal water rights
  • ~ Next steps after you get a settlement
  • ~ Achieving and maintaining water quality
  • ~ Legal ethics for Tribal water rights practitioners

What Attendees Said

  • "Very good conference and agenda w/ professional speakers. Thank you for all the information."
  • " Now I have a better understanding on how Tribal Water is a big issue and there are laws, settlements, and financial gates to get through. All the speakers and topics were very interesting."
  • "Excellent Speakers, Wide range of expert level knowledge, Great update on current state of issues."
  • "Very good climatologist presentation as one of the first subjects to be touched on. Great presentations of explaining data."
  • "Great conference! As well as Speakers and location."

Agenda Day 1

8:00 am

Registration Opens

8:30 am

Introduction & Overview

Linus Everling, Esq. , Program Co-Chair, General Counsel
Gila River Indian Community / Sacaton, AZ

Jason Travis Hauter, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld / Washington, DC

8:45 am

Federal Policy Trends Affecting Tribal Water in the Southwest

Administrative policy and process developments at the federal agencies; prospects for federal funding for water and other Tribal infrastructure projects

Vanessa L. Ray-Hodge, Esq.
Sonosky Chambers Sachse Endreson & Perry / Albuquerque, NM

9:30 am

Tribal Water Litigation Update

National overview of state and federal cases impacting Tribal water

Thomas L. Murphy, Esq. , Deputy General Counsel
Gila River Indian Community / Sacaton, AZ

10:15 am


10:30 am

Climatological Forecasts for Near and Long Term Water Supplies

Update on how much water the region can expect to have to work with

Nancy J. Selover, Ph.D. , State Climatologist
State of Arizona / Tempe, AZ

11:15 am

Reclaimed Water as a Way to Stretch Water Supplies

Technological options and their feasibility; water rights issues; addressing water quality concerns

Sharon B. Megdal, Ph.D. , Director, Water Resources Research Center
University of Arizona / Tucson, AZ

11:45 am

Update on Water Marketing: Opportunities for Tribes

How water markets work in the West; valuation and delivery issues; essential elements for water marketing planning and contract terms

Brett Bovee , Rocky Mountain Regional Director
WestWater Research / Fort Collins, CO

12:15 pm

Lunch (on your own)

1:30 pm

Lower Colorado River Basin Drought Contingency Plan: Update on the Negotiations, Their Outcome, and What Happens Next

Arizona state administrative plans for addressing the issues in the next legislative session and priorities moving forward

Nicole Klobas , Deputy Chief Counsel
Arizona Department of Water Resources / Phoenix, AZ

Update on what to expect from the federal government and California and Nevada as downstream participants in the agreement

Lawrence Marquez , Native American Affairs Office Manager
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation / Glendale, AZ

Tribal participation in the process; areas of concern; how post-agreement Tribal water rights stack up against other claims to water; strategic tips for Tribes moving forward

Jason T. Hauter, Esq. , Program Co-Chair
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld / Washington, DC

3:15 pm


3:30 pm

Tribal Water Management: Working with Federal Partners

Leasing Tribal lands for irrigated farming: How it works with the Tribe and BIA

David DeJong, Ph.D. , Director, Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project
Gila River Indian Community / Sacaton, AZ

Casaundra Wallace, Esq. , Assistant General Counsel
Gila River Indian Community / Sacaton, AZ

4:30 pm

Tribal Water Management: Tips for Achieving and Maintaining Water Quality

Clean Water Act and Clean Drinking Water Act enforcement trends; litigation update including citizen suits; implications for Tribal water use and management

Ian A. Shavitz, Esq.
Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman / Washington, DC

5:00 pm

Continue the Exchange of Ideas: Reception for Faculty and Attendees

Sponsored by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Gila River Indian Community

Friday, March 08, 2019

8:30 am

Tribal Water Rights Settlements

National update: Overview of pending Tribal/state water settlements

Pamela S. Williams, Esq. , Director, Indian Water Rights Office
U.S. Department of the Interior / Phoenix, AZ

Practical tips for Tribes in the Southwest: Roles of the DOI vs. DOJ vs. and OMB; negotiating and dispute resolution strategies; obtaining federal support for pursuing and funding settlements

Ryan A. Smith, Esq.
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck / Washington, DC

John B. Weldon, Jr., Esq.
Salmon Lewis & Weldon / Phoenix, AZ

10:00 am

Lessons from Recent Litigation and Settlements for Presenting an Effective Case on Indian Water Rights

Lessons from recent litigation and settlements for identifying, assembling, and presenting the evidence you'll need

Joe Ely , Project Coordinator
Stetson Engineers / Apache Junction, AZ

10:30 am


10:45 am

Settlement Implementation: Next Steps After You Reach a Settlement

Anticipating enforceability, construction project management issues; appropriate uses for federal funds; development of effective implementation plans

Katie Brossy, Esq.
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld / Washington, DC

11:30 am

Legal Ethics in Indian Country for a Tribal Water Practice

Including conflicts of interest in representing multiple parties in an arid state

Patrick J. Cunningham, Esq.
The Law Office of Patrick J. Cunningham / Scottsdale, AZ

12:30 pm

Evaluations and Adjourn

Faculty Bios

Linus Everling, Linus Everling, Program Co-Chair, is General Counsel for the Gila River Indian Community. He is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribe, Belcourt, North Dakota.

Jason Travis Hauter, Jason Travis Hauter, Program Co-Chair, is Senior Counsel at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. He represents Indian tribes and tribally owned enterprises on a variety of matters including federal policy, Indian water rights, Indian gaming, land into trust, economic development, and environmental regulation.

Brett Bovee Brett Bovee is the Rocky Mountain Regional Director for WestWater Research and leads the Colorado office in Fort Collins. He has performed dozens of focused water right valuation studies and broader economic and water market analyses.

Katie Brossy Katie Brossy is Senior Counsel at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. She has worked on a number of highly significant Tribal issues, including one of the largest Indian water rights settlements in U.S. history and the largest Tribal trust claim settlement.

Patrick J. Cunningham, Patrick J. Cunningham, The Law Office of Patrick J. Cunningham, is General Counsel for HighGround Public Affairs Consultants. He also provides legal ethics advice to lawyers in public and private practice.

David DeJong, Ph.D., David DeJong, Ph.D., is Director of the Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project for the Gila River Indian Community. The project is an outgrowth of the 2004 Arizona Water Settlements Act.

Joe Ely, Joe Ely, Project Coordinator, serves as Director of Indian Project Development for Stetson Engineers. He is a former Tribal chairman of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and was instrumental in settling its 80-year-old water rights struggle.

Nicole Klobas Nicole Klobas is Deputy Chief Counsel for the Arizona Department of Water Resources. She represents the Department in matters related to the Colorado River and serves as counsel to the Arizona Water Banking Authority.

Lawrence Marquez Lawrence Marquez is the Native American Affairs Office Manager for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Phoenix. As the NAAO Manager, he is the focal point for the planning, design and construction of the Indian distribution and delivery systems associated with the Central Arizona Project, assisting local tribes in developing, rehabilitating or enhancing existing water related infrastructure, and implementation of Reclamation's Technical Assistance to Tribes Program.

Sharon B. Megdal, Ph.D., Sharon B. Megdal, Ph.D., is Director of the Water Resources Research Center at the University of Arizona.

Thomas L. Murphy Thomas L. Murphy is Deputy General Counsel for the Gila River Indian Community.He has a particular interest and expertise in litigation and water rights issues involving Indian tribes, and represents the Community in Arizona's General Stream Adjudication and proceedings before the Arizona Navigable Steam Adjudication Commission.

Vanessa L. Ray-Hodge Vanessa L. Ray-Hodge is a Partner at Sonosky Chambers Sachse Endreson & Perry. Previously, she served as the Senior Counselor to Solicitor Hilary Tompkins at the Department of the Interior.

Nancy J. Selover, Ph.D. Nancy J. Selover, Ph.D. is the State Climatologist for the State of Arizona. She works out of the Office of Climatology at Arizona State University.

Ian A. Shavitz Ian A. Shavitz is the Team Leader of the Environment and Energy Practice Team at Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman. For his Tribal clients, he has assisted in securing required approvals for development projects located on and off Tribal lands, advised on the environmental aspects of land-to-trust applications and leasing of Tribal lands, and drafted provisions of tribal codes and regulations.

Ryan A. Smith Ryan A. Smith is Chair of the American Indian Law and Policy Group at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. He previously served as a senior legislative advisor to former Senator Minority Whip, Jon Kyl (R-AZ), and was Deputy Counsel for the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

Casaundra Wallace Casaundra Wallace is an Assistant General Counsel for the Gila River Indian Community. She represents the Community on economic development, agriculture, and water related matters.

John B. Weldon, Jr. John B. Weldon, Jr. is a founding member of Salmon Lewis & Weldon. He represents the largest water users' association in Arizona, an agricultural improvement and power district, an Arizona municipality, and the co-owners of one of the largest coal-fired electric generation stations in the U.S. in water rights, environmental, and natural resource related matters.

Pamela S. Williams is Director, Indian Water Rights Office for the U.S. Department of the Interior. In that capacity, she works with the Gila River Indian Irrigation and Drainage District.

Continuing Education Credits

Live credits: This program qualifies for 10.25 AZ MCLE, 10.20 NM MCLE, and 10.0 NV MCLE credits including 1 ethics. Upon request, we will apply for, or help you apply for, CLE credits in other states and other types of credits.