Ernest A. Conant | Water Law


Partner | Water Law

With over 36 years of experience, Ernest A. Conant is considered one of the preeminent attorneys in California practicing water law and public agency matters. Ernest has handled numerous matters that have literally shaped the water industry. He has served as general counsel for many different public agencies, including assisting with the development of the Semitropic and Arvin-Edison Water Storage District’s water banking programs, which temporarily store water for various agencies throughout the State.  As general counsel for the Kern Water Bank Authority, he assisted with its formation and development, including its comprehensive Habitat Conservation Plan. Ernest has also assisted various clients pursuing financing and refinancing of various public projects.

Ernest worked on behalf of the Kern Water Bank Authority for the implementation of Monterey Amendments among State Water Project Contractors and served on the Technical Advisory Committee for the project’s Environmental Impact Report. In addition, Ernest served as special counsel for the Friant Water Users Authority in negotiating the San Joaquin River Settlement, resolving 18 years of litigation among various parties and pursuing the congressional legislation necessary for its implementation. As chairman of the Contractor’s Drafting Committee, Ernest coordinated negotiated 112 Central Valley Project renewal contracts for water supply contracts with the United States Bureau of Reclamation. As a long-time member of the State Legislative Committee for the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) he has been involved in addressing various legislative initiatives, including the new Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. He is assisting various agencies with its implementation.

Ernest believes that his clients should promptly be given the best available representation and that each case should be handled practically and thoroughly.

Ernest A. Conant was born in the northern California city of Marysville. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1975 from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he was named Outstanding Senior by the School of Agriculture and Natural Resources.  In 1984-86, he participated in the Class XV California Agricultural Leadership Program. He earned his Juris Doctorate from Pepperdine University in 1979.

In his spare time, Ernest enjoys spending time with his family; his wife, four children and three grandchildren. Schedule and weather permitting, he also enjoys golf and tennis.


  • B.S., Agricultural Business Management, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, 1975
  • J.D., Pepperdine University School of Law, 1979


  • Supreme Court of California, all state courts, 1979
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of California, 1979
  • United States Court of Federal Claims, 1995
  • United States Supreme Court, 1999

Business and Professional Associations:

  • Water Association of Kern County, Secretary and Board Member, since 1984
  • Kern County Historical Society, 1987 to 1999; president 1993 to 1995
  • Association of California, Water Agencies Legal Affairs Committee, 1990-2010
  • Association of California, Water Agencies State Legislative Committee, 1998-present
  • Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage District Board of Directors, 2001-2008

Honors, Awards and Achievements:

  • Martindale-Hubbell Rating: AV
  • Class XV California Agricultural Leadership Program 1984 to 1986
  • Honored as “Outstanding Student” in the School of Agricultural & Natural Resources at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo (1975)
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