Respected for her leadership and resourceful lawyering, Brittany Johnson blends creativity with laser-focused research to deliver value for her water quality and water resources clients inside and outside the courtroom. Her practice focuses on helping water users and wastewater dischargers understand and comply with regulations affecting operations and facilities.
In the water quality arena, Brittany advises publicly owned wastewater treatment plants and private companies on compliance with discharge permits and avoidance of permit violations. Brittany helps facilities with permit renewal and term negotiations to ensure sound and agreeble stormwater management plans. She comfortably collaborates among key stakeholders and senior leadership at regional water quality control boards, cities, municipalities, and other agencies to ensure her clients operate efficiently and effectively for their customers. When lawsuits threaten those services, Brittany seamlessly transitions to strategist and problem-solver in defending enforcement actions.
Brittany also represents water users on water rights matters and in litigation arising from the management and implementation of their water rights. This work includes years of litigation on Endangered Species Act (ESA) cases challenging consultations on historic water contracts held by senior water right holders in the Sacramento Valley, and ESA cases challenging the complex consultations for operations of the Central Valley Project and the Klamath Project.
Known for her experience with interstate water matters, Brittany is an integral member of the litigation team for the State of Texas in the original jurisdiction action before the United States Supreme Court, Texas v. New Mexico, regarding the interpretation and enforcement of the Rio Grande Compact. She has worked on the case since the filing of the complaint in 2013, managing the briefing efforts to the Special Master and the Court to defeat New Mexico’s motion to dismiss, and working with the team on all aspects of discovery.
Brittany also advises clients on the Colorado River, working with Section 5 water contractors to navigate the Law of the River and providing strategic and legal advice on water transfers and other projects under the complex set of authorities. On a different aspect of Colorado River operations, Brittany represented the Arizona Power Authority and assisted the agency in developing its historic allocation of Hoover power within Arizona, and negotiating its 50-year contract with federal agencies for its Hoover power allocation.
Prior to practicing natural resources law and litigation, Brittany served as a law clerk to the Honorable Laura D. Millman at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Office of Special Masters, where she had the unique experience of working on Vaccine Act claims.
A native of Arizona, Brittany spends her time outside with her husband chasing their young daughter, whether on the walking trails along the American River Parkway or in the backyard with their pack of three dogs. Brittany enjoys shopping at local nurseries in Sacramento to find plants and flowers to bring color to her home and garden, experimental dining nights with friends, and drinking Amador County wine on patios and playdates. Brittany is an everyday skier with plans to master the black diamonds and keep up with her Boulder colleagues one day.
Assist in representation of State of Texas in Original Action No. 141 before United States Supreme Court regarding interpretation and enforcement of the Rio Grande Compact, including successfully defending the State of New Mexico’s motion to dismiss Texas’s Complaint.
Represent numerous water right permit and license holders, including irrigation districts, Central Valley Project contractors, and their representative associations, in Northern California Water Association v. State Water Resources Control Board, the long-running litigation challenging the State Water Resources Control Board’s water right fees scheme.
Represent irrigation district and growers in federal litigation challenging the management of historical agricultural lands in national wildlife refuges in the Klamath Reclamation Project.
Advise Colorado River water contractor in Arizona on Colorado River management issues, including planning actions under the 2007 Guidelines, Arizona v. California Consolidated Decree, and other Law of the River authorities.
Endangered Species Act
Represent Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District and other Sacramento River Settlement Contractors in defense of federal district court lawsuit brought by environmental organizations challenging long-term water rights settlement contract renewals under the federal ESA.
Represent Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District and other Sacramento River Settlement Contractors in federal district court lawsuits challenging the Section 7 consultations for the long-term operations of the Central Valley Project.
Represent Klamath water users in federal district court lawsuits challenging the Section 7 consultations on Klamath Project operations.
Advise regional clean water association on regulatory advocacy efforts to state and regional water quality control boards.
Advise municipality in development of stormwater management plan.
Advise publicly-owned treatment works (POTWs) in evaluating, negotiating, and obtaining National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits issued by regional water quality control boards.
Represent sewer district in enforcement action for penalties for sanitary sewer overflows.
Represent public and private defendants in Clean Water Act citizen suit actions.
Advise municipality in restructuring and developing municipal code ordinances for pretreatment and sewer management programs.
Provide regulatory advice and develop comments for POTWs and regional clean water association in state water quality control planning processes, including proposed requirements for sanitary sewer systems, Bay-Delta water quality control plans, and other state water quality policies.
Represent POTWs in litigation of NPDES permit requirements.
Provide ongoing regulatory and legal advice to POTWs.
Advise state power authority in 50-year allocation of Hoover power within the state.
Advise state power authority and negotiate 50-year contract with Western Area Power Administration.
Advise electric cooperative on regulatory compliance and property matters.
Advise cities in evaluating development of hydropower projects and FERC licensing process.