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News
Tom gains supplement to French Creek Decree to dedicate water for instream benefit under Water Code section 1707.

Tom will be speaking on the “State of Water Policy and Law in California Today” at the Sierra ECOSUMMIT & festival in Groveland, CA on Saturday, June 21, 2014

Tom was featured on the KPIX CBS San Francisco Bay Area Segment, “Water Watch”

Tom was featured on the KPIX CBS San Francisco Bay Area Segment, “Some Californians Allowed To Keep Using Water For Free Amid Record Drought”


Tom Hicks (Cal. Bar No: 238545) is a San Francisco-based water rights attorney and graduate of the University of San Francisco School of Law. Tom brings a multi-faceted perspective to his legal practice. He has over 20 years of litigation, business, collaborative, policy, education, and leadership experience in the private, public, non-profit, and “pro bono” sectors. Tom is guided by a pragmatic, results-driven advocacy on behalf of clients.

Tom works with the leading-edge of attorneys and public-interest, water trust organizations commonly committed to use of voluntary, or non-regulatory, water transfers that have instream flow benefits.

Since 2008, Tom has:

  • Garnered a supplement for the French Creek Decree (Mason v. Bemrod) that represents one of the first court approved dedications of water to instream use in California.
  • Submitted an October 2012 Revenue Ruling Request to the U.S. Dep’t of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service seeking clarification of existing federal codes regarding the tax deductibility of the real property interest in an appropriative water right donation. RRI is now pressing for 2013 Ruling.
  • Initiated and led a Revenue Ruling campaign on behalf of a regional Instream Water Transfers Coalition of specialized water trusts and public interest organizations.
  • Coordinated regional outreach to U.S. Senators, Western Governors Association (WGA), Western States Water Council (WSWC), state and federal agencies, land and water trusts, and others.
  • Collaborated to locate taxpayers committed to claim water right deductions on their tax returns.
  • Generated recommendations to WSWC, which were accepted for a report to WGA on “Innovative Water Transfers.”
  • Initiated and led a network of California public interest organizations to address inconsistent state and federal instream water transfer policies related to voluntary water transactions such as acquisition, lease, and donation of water rights.
  • Worked with varied California partners to transfer reduced consumptive water use.
  • Analyzed California water transfers, including Water Code section 1707, and generated both state and federal policy recommendations.
  • Planned and coordinated a series of regional water transfer law and policy briefings for leading-edge water transfer and tax experts.
  • Advocated for state-level donative water transfer policies in: CA, MT, OR, WA, CO, NV, DC.
  • Presented as a Panelist at various regional forums.
  • Led philanthropic fundraising through foundations and private donors to sustain multi-year campaigns.
  • Published a law review article on the tax deductibility of water right donations.

For more information about our practice, please fill out the contact form or call 415-309-2098.