GZA staff are experienced in all water right processes, and can assist in developing an initial strategy that best suit a client’s needs, from verification of the water right, filing the appropriate application(s), developing groundwater models across hydrogeologically complex terrain to find water supplies within a right, and providing technical and expert witness services if the application results in a hearing or other legal action.

With water rights, the purchaser or lessor must exercise the same level of caution and due diligence to ensure that the water rights proposed for transfer to their property are valid and transferable under applicable rules. Our services are designed to assist in minimizing the risk around a water rights transaction.


We get your market.

Private owners
Tribal governments
State and municipal governments
Research and Management

Securing water rights requires detailed research to present to multiple entities. GZA can assist with all steps involved in the water rights research, application preparation and consultation.


While the water rights process can resemble a real estate transaction, there are some important differences between the two processes that will need to be handled carefully. GZA helps you understand how the process works and assists you in executing a transfer.

  • Validity and transferability
  • Documentation research
  • Stakeholder outreach
  • Permit implementation and compliance
Water Rights Litigation Support and Expert Witness Testimony

GZA has qualified experts in geology, hydrology, agronomy, water rights, ecology and environmental science to provide expert litigation support and testimony covering a range of topics, encompassing water quality, contaminant tracing, discharge permits, water supply, water rights (including those involving nutrient management), and spills/discharges.

GZA staff specializes in evaluating the problem, the costs involved, the related regulations and can act as a professional liaison between regulatory agencies and clients.  We have worked with renowned attorneys on a wide variety of due diligence and environmental litigation projects as technical experts, assisting in developing a cohesive and sensible approach to complex environmental cases.

  • New appropriation
  • Senior water rights impacts
  • Endangered species flow requirements
  • Compliance with permit conditions requiring offset
  • Exchange for development rights from a municipality or utility
  • Payback for over-diversion
  • Municipal/Tribal/Domestic
  • Limited duration project (e.g. construction)
  • Avoiding cutoff under priority administration
  • Investment
  • Historical nutrient loading in surface water bodies
  • Contamination tracing/source location
  • Compost operations
Groundwater and Surface Water Modeling

GZA has extensive experience and training, developing a unique exploration and development program to identify and develop water supplies throughout many complex hydrogeologic terrains across the United States. 

GZA's GIS platform enables us to incorporate both hydrogeologic datasets and key socio-economic factors – including areas of particularly critical need, existing infrastructure locations, habitat considerations, and land use requirements, etc. – into the determination of diversion points and wells. We are able to predictably identify and incrementally develop new low-cost, low-impact, distributed groundwater resources closer to the point(s) of use than other water supply alternatives. 

  • Satellite imagery analysis
  • Geologic mapping
  • Geophysical analysis
  • Hydrogeologic testing
  • Sustainability analysis


Water Rights Projects:
Here are just some of our noteworthy partnerships.


  • Zuni River Adjudication on behalf of Zuni Tribe; started work in 2000; ongoing
  • Aragon (Rio Chama) Adjudication on behalf of City of Española, started  work in 2006; ongoing
  • Abbott (Rio Truchas and Rio Santa Cruz) Adjudication restarting settlement negotiations on behalf of City of Española, NM; started  work in 2006; ongoing
  • Confidential pueblo
  • Settled - Gallinas River Adjudication; secured 1200 ac-ft of surface water with 1835 priority date on behalf of City of Las Vegas; started work 1985; ongoing implementation
  • Settled  - Abeyta (Rio Pueblo de Taos) 1989-2012; 800 ac-ft of San Juan Chama water on behalf of Town of Taos


Your success is ours.
Tell us about your project.