Water Law: How Public Policy Got Us Here And Could Get Us Where We Need To Be

The availability and use of water are determined by a complicated and heady mix of public policy, federal law and regulation, and state law.

Our panel of experts will start by tracing some of the complexity of water history in California. Then, starting with the story of efforts to restore the San Joaquin River as a backdrop, and proceeding through the ebb and flow of the interplay of federal and state efforts to address the challenging San Francisco Bay-Delta ecosystem, our panel will discuss how despite the complex overlapping jurisdictional issues at play, there may be some more innovative water policy models that could lead to more progress.

Introductory Remarks by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, President/CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California; Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California

This program will be hosted virtually only.


WHEN: October 23 | 5:00 PM Pacific

WHERE: Virtually over Zoom

COST: Attendance is free!

CLE Add-On: $40

CLE Information & Materials


HAMILTON CANDEE: Hal’s practice consists primarily of efforts to restore ecosystems, protect endangered species, encourage water conservation, and promote other environmental reforms in federal and state water policy.  He has briefed and argued numerous cases at the trial and appellate level.  Hal represents a variety of nonprofit conservation organizations as well as local public agencies.

Hal is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the NRDC Action Fund. For over twenty years, he served as a Senior Attorney in the San Francisco Office of the Natural Resources Defense Council and as Co-Director of NRDC’s Western Water Project. Previously he was a legislative assistant in the United States Senate.

Hal received a CLAY Award as one of California’s “Lawyers of the Year” in 1999 for his work pursuing restoration of the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam. He has also received the Bay Institute’s Carla Bard Bay Education award in 2008 and the Central Valley Joint Venture Conservation Award in 2015. Hal was a Root-Tilden Scholar and a Hayes Civil Liberties Fellow at New York University Law School.

BRIAN GRAY is a Senior Fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center and is a Professor Emeritus at the University of California College of Law, San Francisco. He has published numerous articles on environmental and water resources law and has co-authored a variety of PPIC publications, including the 2011 interdisciplinary book on California water policy, Managing California’s Water: From Conflict to Reconciliation and an on-going series of studies of ecosystem-based management of water assigned to environmental uses. He also has argued before the California Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in cases involving wild and scenic rivers, water pricing reform, takings, and water rights and environmental quality.

FELICIA MARCUS is the William C. Landreth Visiting Fellow at Stanford University’s Water in the West Program, an attorney, consultant and member of the Water Policy Group. She most recently served as chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board, implementing laws regarding drinking water and water quality and state’s water rights, hearing regional board water quality appeals, settling disputes and providing financial assistance to communities to upgrade water infrastructure.

Before her appointment to the Water Board, Marcus served in positions in government, the non-profit and private sector. In government, Felicia served as the regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Pacific Southwest region during the Clinton Administration. Preceding the EPA, Marcus served as the president of the board of Public Works for the City of Los Angeles.

In the non-profit world, she was the western director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, and prior to that the executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Trust for Public Land. Marcus also has an extensive background as a private sector and public interest lawyer, as well as a community organizer, most notably as a founder and general counsel to Heal the Bay.

DR. TERRY YOUNG (Moderator) has dedicated her professional life to protecting the environment. From 2006 – 2019, she was a member of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, serving as Chair from 2014 – 2019. For nearly four decades prior to her service on the Board, Dr. Young advised Bay Area environmental organizations and selected corporations on environmental science and policy, primarily in the areas of water pollution, ecological indicators, and the use of economic incentives. Dr. Young also was an appointed member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board for twelve years, where she chaired the Ecological Processes and Effects Committee and was a member of the Executive Committee. In addition, Dr. Young served on panels of National Research Council; helped to develop “The State of the Nation’s Ecosystems” in 2002 and 2008 for the H. John Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment; and was a member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences Committee on Puget Sound Indicators. Dr. Young holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. in Chemistry from Yale University.


CA CLE credit provided by Hughes Hubbard & Reed

Want to see more great Water Law programs?

Watch these program recordings:

Water Sharing In The West Water Law in the Colorado River Basin
Join us in early 2024 for more water law programming in Las Vegas and Sacramento!

*Both programs will also be available virtually over Zoom.