Paul M. Bartkiewicz

Phone: (916) 446-4254

Paul M. Bartkiewicz

Photo-Paul Bartkiewicz

Paul M. Bartkiewicz is a founding partner in the law firm of Bartkiewicz, Kronick & Shanahan, Sacramento, California, which practices exclusively in the areas of water rights and public agency representation. He provides general counsel legal services to water agencies, and serves as special water counsel to a number of cities and individuals.

Mr. Bartkiewicz was born and raised in Massachusetts. He received his A.B. from the University of Massachusetts in 1972, and his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, in 1975. He was admitted to the California Bar in 1975. He has received Martindale-Hubbell’s highest rating for attorneys: AV® Preeminent.

 He received the Association of California Water Agencies 2015 Emissary Award, which recognizes individuals who have made remarkable and visible contributions to the enhancement, protection or development of water resources in California. He has been nominated for the American Bar Association’s Award for Excellence in Environmental, Energy and Resources Stewardship. Mr. Bartkiewicz was recognized as the Sacramento Regional Water Authority’s Water Statesperson of the Year in 2005. He is currently the chairperson of the State Legislative Committee of the Association of California Water Agencies.  

Under California law, voluntary water transfers from one region of the state to another are favored as a significant resource for meeting California’s municipal and industrial, agricultural and environmental water supply needs. Mr. Bartkiewicz is a noted authority on water transfer law and policy. He drafted significant water transfer legislation in California’s state legislature that facilitates the water transfer process, while protecting the environment and the rights of other users of water. (See, e.g., Chapter 10.5, “Changes of Point of Diversion, Place of Use, or Purpose of Use Involving the Transfer of Water,” California Water Code sections 1725-1745.11, Statutes 1988, chapter 1145, Statutes 1992, chapter 481 and Statutes 1999, chapter 938.) Mr. Bartkiewicz has provided legal services in connection with the transfer of more than 2 million acre feet of water throughout the State of California. Mr. Bartkiewicz also played an instrumental role in the development of California’s first drought water bank during the emergency drought conditions of 1991.
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Mr. Bartkiewicz has also played a lead role (along with other parties) in developing, negotiating and implementing interest-based, collaborative processes that have resolved complex and long-standing water resource disputes, including:

The 2015 Yuba Salmon Partnership Initiative Term Sheet was approved by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, National Marine Fisheries Service, Yuba County Water Agency, American Rivers, Trout Unlimited and California Sportfishing Protection Alliance in May 2015 to reunite salmon with their habitat above rim dams in the Sierra Nevada Mountains (where dams block salmon in every major river) for the first time in 100 years. This term sheet will guide development of the first-ever “collect-and-transport” program for salmon in California, like those used at numerous dams in Oregon and Washington for decades.  When implemented, the initiative would return spring-run Chinook salmon to about 30 miles of historical spawning habitat in the North Yuba River upstream from New Bullards Bar Dam. The program also includes salmon habitat enhancement on the lower Yuba River. (For more information on the YSPI, see

The 2008 Lower Yuba River Accord is an innovative program to resolve years of regulatory proceedings and litigation by improving 24 miles of fisheries habitat in one of California’s signature salmon rivers. The Yuba Accord includes three interrelated agreements (a fisheries agreement, a water purchase agreement and conjunctive use agreements) that were approved by 17 parties, including the California Department of Water Resources, state and federal fishery resource agencies, conservation groups and water agencies. Under the Yuba Accord, up to an additional 170,000 acre-feet of water per year is now available for salmon and steelhead on the Lower Yuba River. The Yuba Accord funds a $6 million monitoring and evaluation program for scientific research on these fisheries. A comprehensive conjunctive use program has replaced 75 diesel groundwater well pumps with efficient electric pumps. This program reduces fossil fuel use by up to 600,000 gallons and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 7,000 tons per year.  California cities and farms are also receiving up to 200,000 acre-feet of transfer water in dry years (enough water for 400,000 households for one year). By protecting water rights, the Yuba Accord provides farmers with sustainable local water supplies to raise rice, peaches, plums and other crops. Yuba County Water Agency also uses water transfer revenues from the Yuba Accord to finance improvements to local flood control levees. These include $46 million toward the cost of funding the Feather River Setback Levee Project, one of the largest levee setback projects in North America. This flood protection project creates 1,500 acres of wildlife habitat. The Yuba Accord has been recognized as a conflict-resolution model, receiving the Association of California Water Agencies 2008 Theodore Roosevelt Award for Environmental Excellence, the National Hydropower Association 2009 Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters Award and the 2009 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (in the ecosystem and watershed stewardship category). (For more information on the Yuba Accord, see

The 2002 Sacramento Valley Water Management Agreement avoided years of litigation by resolving Phase 8 of the California Water Resources Control Board’s Bay-Delta water quality proceedings. This agreement voluntarily develops a comprehensive groundwater and surface water conjunctive use program to increase water supplies for California’s farms, cities and the environment. The California Department of Water Resources, the United States Bureau of Reclamation, and numerous State Water Project contractors, federal Central Valley Project contractors and Sacramento Valley water agencies were signatories to this agreement. (For more information on the Sacramento Valley Water Management Agreement, see

The 2000 American River Water Forum Agreement was the culmination of a six-year process involving numerous representatives of environmental, water, business and public interests. The Water Forum Agreement established actions to assure coequal objectives to provide long-term water supply reliability for the Sacramento metropolitan region and protective, durable and enforceable instream flow standards for the environmental, recreational and aesthetic resources of the Lower American River. The Lower American River is nationally-recognized for its beauty, fisheries and recreation. Each year, there are over five million visitor-days recorded for the American River Parkway. The Water Forum Agreement has been recognized as a model for resolving complex disputes, receiving the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, the Association of California Water Agencies’ Clair Hill Award for Excellence in Water Resources Management and the California League of Cities’ Helen Putnam Award for Excellence, among others. The Water Forum Agreement has been the subject of several publications (including a doctoral thesis) on the use of the collaborative process in the making of California water policy. (For more information on the Water Forum Agreement, see

Mr. Bartkiewicz has participated as a speaker on numerous panels and continuing legal education programs discussing public law, ethics for lawyers and public officials, environmental law, the federal Endangered Species Act, water rights and water transfer issues. He was a principal drafter of ACWA’s Guidelines for Conduct of Public Officials and Model Ethics Policy (2004). He has also written articles on water rights and water transfers for California Law and Water Policy and the Land Use Forum. He assisted in the preparation of A Guide to Water Transfers (July 1999, California Water Resources Control Board), which helps interested parties understand the processes involved and the information needed to complete water transfers in California. He co-authored the Delta Water Transfer Handbook – Guidelines for Water Transfers through the Delta (1996) for a consortium of water agencies and conservation groups.  (He wrote the legal analysis and public policy sections, while two engineering firms wrote technical sections of this publication.)

Mr. Bartkiewicz and his wife (Annie), and their two daughters, have been members and supporters of numerous community, educational and charitable organizations in the Sacramento area.