About Elizabeth

Elizabeth Ewens is a water resources attorney who practices in Stoel Rives’ Environment, Land Use & Natural Resources group, where she emphasizes the preservation and defense of water rights, and water right management and regulation. Elizabeth has represented public agencies, State Water Project contractors, and private individuals and entities in complex water resources litigation in the western U.S. involving both surface and groundwater rights. Her practice also includes representing clients in state and federal administrative, trial court, and appellate proceedings, and representing clients in mediations and dispute resolution proceedings to achieve negotiated solutions to complex water issues.

Before joining Stoel Rives, Elizabeth was a partner at Ellison Schneider Harris & Donlan LLP in Sacramento (2008–2020) and at McQuaid, Bedford & Van Zandt LLP in San Francisco (2000–2008).

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  • Served as counsel to major irrigation district, in addition to individual irrigators and ranchers, in cases involving water right adjudications and transfers, and in the defense of historic water rights.
  • Represented public agencies in multiple phases of complex groundwater litigation and obtained a jury verdict in favor of her clients to secure the public water supplier’s prescriptive groundwater rights during periods of groundwater shortage.
  • Advised public and private entities concerning the implementation of, and compliance with, California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).
  • Represented State Water Project (SWP) contractors in litigation and associated complex mediation proceedings involving California’s area of origin laws and SWP contracts.
  • Served as a neutral mediator and facilitated a successful negotiated settlement of a water rights dispute between private landowners.
  • Represented energy companies in litigation, resulting in a comprehensive settlement agreement, regarding the State Water Resources Control Board’s (SWRCB) Water Quality Control Policy on the Use of Coastal and Estuarine Waters for Power Plant Cooling.
  • Served as outside general corporate counsel in a broad range of matters including the development of company policies and contracts, legislative reform, employment disputes, and risk management.

Published Decisions

  • Joyce Livestock v. United States, 144 Idaho l (2007)
  • LU Ranching v. United States, 144 Idaho 89 (2007)
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Honors & Activities

  • American Bar Association
    • Chair, Water Resources Conference Planning Committee, 2008–2009
    • Vice Chair, Water Resources Committee, 2006–present
    • Member, Water Resources Conference Planning Committee, 2004–present
    • Vice Chair and Co-Chair of AHA Water Resources Conference, 2008–2009
    • Vice Chair (Special Appointment), Sponsorship, 2009–2013
    • Vice Chair, Editor, Year in Review, 2010–present
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Insights & Presentations

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