McGeorge School of Law

Water Symposium Celebrated the State Water Board’s 50th Anniversary

March 21, 2017

Professor Jennifer Harder introducing the symposium

Professor Jennifer Harder introducing the symposium

McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific hosted its 2017 Water Law Symposium on Saturday, March 11, 2017. The symposium celebrated the 50th anniversary of the State Water Resources Control Board (1967-2017), and explored the topic of "Integrating Water Quality & Quantity in the Golden State." Watch the video of the symposium.

The symposium began with an introduction by McGeorge Professor Jennifer Harder, followed by a morning keynote address by McGeorge alumnus Justice Ronald B. Robie '67, Third District Court of Appeal.

Justice Robie was integrally involved in developing the 1967 legislation that created the State Water Resources Control Board. He was appointed to the Board in 1969 and served as its attorney member and vice chair until 1975. In 1975, he was appointed director of the state Department of Water Resources. Justice Robie is currently Associate Justice for the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento.

Panel 1 delved into "Water Quality & Allocation: SWRCB Overview & the Delta Water Quality Control Plan.". The panelists were Nicole Kuenzi, Attorney, State Water Resources Control Board; Professor Holly Doremus, UC Berkeley School of Law; and Meredith Nikkel, Attorney, Downey Brand LLP.

Panel 2 focused on "New Directions in Water Management: Enforcement & Data," with Rob E. Donlan, Attorney & Shareholder, Ellison, Schneider, Harris & Donlan, as the moderator. Yvonne West, Attorney, State Water Resources Control Board, Office of Enforcement; Peter Prows, Attorney and Partner, Briscoe Ivester Bazel; and Richard Roos Collins, Attorney and Principal, Water & Power Law Group PC comprised the panel.

The lunch hour keynote was given by Felicia Marcus, Chair, State Water Resources Control Board. Chair Marcus was appointed by Gov. Brown to the Board in 2012, and designated as Chair in April 2013. She previously served as Regional Administrator of the U.S EPA Region IX, head of the Los Angeles' Department of Public Works, Western Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Executive VP/COO of the Trust for Public Land.

"The Groundwater-Surface Water Nexus & the SWRCB," was the topic of panel 3, moderated by Tina Cannon Leahy, Attorney, State Water Resources Control Board. The panelists included Professor Richard M. Frank, UC Davis School of Law; Erik Ekdahl, Director, Office of Research, Planning & Performance, State Water Resources Control Board; and Eric N. Robinson, Attorney and Shareholder, Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard.

The symposium closed with an address by Andrew H. Sawyer, Assistant Chief Counsel, State Water Resources Control Board. A reception sponsored by Briscoe, Ivester & Bazel LLP followed the symposium.

The 2017 Water Law Symposium was presented by the McGeorge Water & Environmental Law Program with support from Briscoe Ivester & Bazel LLP; Downey Brand LLP; El Dorado County Water Agency; Ellison, Schneider, Harris & Donlan; Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard; Somach Simmons & Dunn; Spaletta Vineyards; Stoel Rives LLP; and Water and Power Law Group PC.

The State Water Resources Control Board was formed in 1967 in order to integrate water quality and allocation in California. Structured as a merger between the previously-existing State Water Rights Board and the State Water Quality Control Board, the new Board was intended to broaden the scope of water quality regulation beyond point source discharge. McGeorge's symposium marked the 50th anniversary of the State Water Board by reviewing the success of the 1967 integration and examining key regulatory issues faced by the State Water Board today.

Photos of the Symposium