Water Rights and Adjudications

Since 1974, HRA has been providing historical expertise in complex water rights litigation and adjudications. Our research helps attorneys, tribes, and federal agencies support or challenge claimed priority dates.

Our historians conduct research in federal and state archives, state engineer offices, government documents, special collections, and private manuscript collections. From these records, we prepare comprehensive, well-documented reports to explain the history of land and water use in a given watershed in order to help determine the legitimacy of water rights claims.

Our services include:

  • Investigation of water rights filings
  • Detailed histories of irrigation and reclamation projects
  • Research concerning federally reserved water rights
  • Assistance with discovery and records management
  • Preparation of exhibits for trial, including in electronic format
  • Expert witness testimony

Featured Members

Featured Projects

Arizona v. California (Fort Yuma Indian Reservation Water Rights)

Working with the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the Quechan Indian Tribe, HRA historians researched and prepared a report analyzing the history of land ownership and water use on the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation in California from the 1880s to the 1950s.

Gila River Adjudication

As part of the General Streamwide Adjudication of the Gila River in Arizona, HRA conducted research pertaining to the history of the establishment of, and water use on, the Gila River Indian Reservation in Arizona.

Snake River Basin Adjudication

For the U.S. Department of Justice and the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), HRA conducted research and prepared reports for a number of specific water rights cases in the Snake River Basin Adjudication.

Litigation Support

Contaminated Sites

HRA helps clients identify companies, government agencies, and other entities that may be responsible for the cleanup of Superfund and other contaminated sites.

Expert Witness Services

HRA historians have served as expert witnesses in litigation, as well as providing research and writing support for outside experts.

Native American Issues

HRA historians offer extensive expertise in Native American history and legal issues, ranging from treaty rights to jurisdictional matters.