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, water right management and regulation, and the representation of parties in water and environmental litigation including comprehensive groundwater adjudications. Elizabeth has represented public water suppliers, Groundwater Sustainability Agencies, State Water Project (SWP) and Central Valley Project (CVP) 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 the representation of clients in state and federal administrative, trial court, and appellate proceedings, as well as in complex mediations and dispute resolution proceedings to achieve negotiated solutions to complex water and environmental 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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  • Represents a Groundwater Sustainability Agency in multiple groundwater adjudications and related lawsuits challenging the agency’s Groundwater Sustainability Plans and implementing regulatory and management actions under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).
  • Represents 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.
  • Successfully defended private ranching companies’ water rights in a comprehensive surface water adjudication, including securing a favorable state Supreme Court ruling confirming the clients’ rights to the use of water on public lands.
  • Advised public and private entities concerning the implementation of and compliance with SGMA.
  • Served as counsel to major irrigation district, in addition to individual irrigators and ranchers, in cases involving water rights adjudications and transfers, and in the defense of historic water rights.
  • Representation of 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.
  • Representation of 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. (OTC Policy)
  • Served as outside general corporate counsel to private entities in a broad range of corporate and environmental matters.

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

  • Included in The Best Lawyers in America® (Natural Resources Law), 2023–2024
  • Listed among Northern California Super Lawyers® (Energy & Natural Resources, Environmental), 2023
  • Listed in Sacramento Magazine’s Top Lawyers, 2023
  • Named to the Daily Journal’s “Top Women Lawyers” list, 2023
  • 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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