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Axel Buchwalter

Senior Attorney

Axel Buchwalter focuses on providing effective solutions for public and private clients dealing with intricate water, energy, and environmental issues.

Axel represents agriculture, industry, municipalities, developers, special districts, and utilities to develop practical solutions for water resource challenges. He has extensive experience in all areas of water law, including Arizona’s assured and adequate water supply programs, due diligence investigations, and acquisition of surface water and groundwater rights, well-sharing agreements, negotiation of development agreements with municipalities and special districts, water conservation and drought planning, underground water storage and recovery permitting, federal and Indian reserved water rights, subflow issues, representing clients in the Little Colorado and Gila River General Stream Adjudication, and other complex water litigation, as well as drafting and lobbying for water resources legislation.


J.D., University of Alabama School of Law, 2016
M.B.A., Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, 2022
B.A., University of Washington, 2012


American Bar Association, Section on Environmental, Energy and Resources Law

State Bar of Arizona, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section

State Bar Licenses

Arizona, Washington

Court Admissions

U.S. District Ct., District of Arizona


  • Arizonans for Children – Mentor
  • Phoenix Premier League – Manager


  • Served as in-house counsel for one of the Southwest’s largest water and power utilities, providing comprehensive legal oversight in regulatory compliance, contracts, litigation, and policy development.
  • Represented an Indian tribe in complex legal proceedings concerning federal reserved water rights for two Arizona Indian reservations.
  • Represents clients in the Gila River and Little Colorado River general stream adjudications.
  • Represents clients in administrative proceedings before the Arizona Department of Water Resources concerning surface and groundwater.
  • Counsels clients on the evaluation, acquisition, and utilization of both groundwater and surface water rights.
  • Represented an applicant in an administrative appeal challenging ADWR’s denial of a water rights application.
  • Served as in-house counsel for the water services department of the fifth-largest city in the U.S., providing legal guidance on regulatory compliance, operations, contracts, and community relations.
  • Represented a utility in obtaining vital modifications to safety of dam requirements for a large Arizona reservoir from the Department of the Interior.
  • Routinely advises and assists developers in securing assured water supply approvals for master-planned communities and residential developments.
  • Worked closely with a developer to secure 100-year assured water supply designation, a critical factor in Arizona’s property subdivision and development.
  • Prosecuted violators of a municipal industrial pretreatment program, enforcing a federally mandated pollution control program under the Clean Water Act. Successfully brought legal actions against non-compliant industrial and commercial facilities.
  • Advises municipalities and private water companies on environmental compliance, including drinking water quality, stormwater management, wastewater treatment, and the operation of treatment plants.
  • Served as the environmental counsel for one of the largest and busiest airports in the country, managing environmental compliance, risk assessments, and litigation.
  • Counsels clients on regulatory and legislative developments related to PFAS and other emerging contaminants, shaping compliance strategies and risk management.
  • Routinely advises water providers and groundwater users on compliance with Groundwater Code conservation and user requirements.
  • Counsels clients on Underground Storage Tank regulations, administrative enforcement actions, and preventive compliance measures.
  • Advised a municipality on the clean-up of volatile organic compounds associated with the Motorola 52nd Street Superfund site.
  • Regularly counsels clients on obtaining, amending, and transferring water quality permits such as Aquifer Protection Permits and AZPDES Permits, and ensuring compliance with state and federal laws.
  • Represented a municipality in a high-stakes multi-party CERCLA cost recovery action, seeking significant response costs for groundwater contamination in metropolitan Phoenix.


  • “Water for Construction Lawyers: Is There Enough?,” Presenter, Arizona State Bar Construction Law Section (February 7, 2023)