T: 209.472.7700
F: 209.472.7986


Real Estate →
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Water Law →
Environmental Law →


B.A University of California – Santa Barbara, 1988
J.D. University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, 1992


Karna Harrigfeld’s practice is dedicated primarily to water law, land use, environmental and regulatory actions before governmental agencies and the courts throughout Northern California. She has extensive experience in advising and representing major residential developers and private and public institutions, particularly in water development issues. This representation involves all aspects of the governmental approval process. Ms. Harrigfeld has practiced real estate and natural resource law in San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties for nearly 10 years, and provides clients with a pragmatic legal perspective based upon years in those communities.

Ms. Harrigfeld is retained to find solutions to complex infrastructure controversies threatening the successful developing and siting of proposed public facilities and private projects. For example, Ms. Harrigfeld was instrumental in negotiating for and creating the public agency structure to govern the massive Mountain House Community, the first new town community in Northern California. This effort resulted in Ms. Harrigfeld drafting legislation authorizing the Mountain House Community Services District, a unique community services district having many of the governmental powers traditional exercised by cities. In addition, Ms. Harrigfeld has led the development team in resolving water acquisition and waste water infrastructure questions for the new community.

Ms. Harrigfeld represents clients before many administrative agencies, including the Public Utilities Commission, the State Water Resources Control Board and the Regional Water Quality Control Boards on water quality matters. She has been extensively involved in working with the Central Valley Region in establishing a salinity and boron standard for the San Joaquin River. Ms. Harrigfeld has also obtained Reports of Waste Discharges for clients, including processing facilities and agricultural operations, including dairies and hog farms. The Regional Water Quality Control Board also enforces clean-up requirements in California, and Ms. Harrigfeld represents clients facing enforcement action, and negotiates revised waste water discharge programs with the regulators.

The Bay-Delta Hearings are a major administrative process before the State Water Resources Control Board, and Ms. Harrigfeld has used her expertise in water law to represent the interests of numerous clients before the board in these hearings. Ms. Harrigfeld works with private and public sector client to obtain water sources for agricultural and development purposes. Specifically, she prepared the documentation for the proposed transfer of all lands in the Widren Water District to a major northern California developer in order to secure the water rights from that district. Ms. Harrigfeld was counsel in the first decision of the State Water Resources Control Board under Water Code Section 1211, which allows the recapture of reclaimed wastewater previously discharged into natural watercourses.

Ms. Harrigfeld has developed an expertise in the application of Proposition 218. Adopted by California voters in November 1996, this law made numerous changes to local government finance law. Ms. Harrigfeld is on the Board of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, where she has chaired the Leadership Modesto Program and is currently serves on the Leadership Modesto Steering Committee. Ms. Harrigfeld serves on the Board of Directors for both Habitat for Humanity, Stanislaus County and United Cerebral Palsy Association of San Joaquin, Calaveras & Amador Counties. She is a member of both the San Joaquin and Stanislaus County Bar Associations, and the California Bar Association, where she is active in the Environmental Law Section.

In an attempt to share her expertise with other lawyers, Ms. Harrigfeld has written an article in the California Water Law and Policy Reporter and lectures frequently in San Joaquin County educating attorneys and business on methods of compliance with environmental laws.