Firms To Watch: Water law

Opening its doors in early 2023, RAM Abogados is the result of the merger of Acevedo, Allende, Mujica & Cía. and Ríos y Cía Abogados, and has inherited the particular strength and specialisation in water law formerly housed at the latter; partners Andrés Ríos and Pablo Astorga are the key contacts and head a seven-strong team.

Water law in Chile


The seven-strong water rights practice group at full-service firm Carey advises on the development of a range of projects that require the use of water, including mining, agribusiness, water utilities, chemical facilities and fisheries, as well as water supply for human consumption, and hydroelectric generation in run-of-river, reservoir and tidal power plants. The practice routinely assists with the strategic planning of water rights for projects and related administrative processes before the Chilean Water Authority; and its water law expertise further covers the sale and acquisition of rights of use and water supply. Other areas of strength are compliance audits and tenders; and legal reports for litigation or strategic purposes, as well as water law-related judicial defence strategies. Heading up the practice, member of the board of directors of public water utility Aguas Nuevo Sur Maule, Alberto Cardemil, focuses on water law, natural resources transactions and litigation, along with corporate and commercial law. Cardemil is supported by associate Camila Lavín, who has longstanding experience in water, agribusiness and regulatory law.

Practice head(s):

Alberto Cardemil

Key clients

Ferrero Rocher Group

Empresa Sanitaria de Los Lagos

Pan American Silver Corp

Westchester Agriculture Asset Management


Electrolux Chile

Continental Grain Company

Work highlights

  • Advised Pan American Silver Corp on a due diligence report on environmental and water rights, which related to the acquisition of Yamana Gold’s mining operations.
  • Advised Nutland and Agrichile on the administrative and judicial procedures and applications to acquire, modify or regularise water rights.
  • Advised Westchester on a water rights due diligence for the enhancement, development and operation of its agricultural asset portfolio in Chile.

Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría

The Santiago office of full-service international law firm Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría fields a five-member team that consistently advises on major projects that require water; the ‘very committed, attentive and high-level’ group is particularly focused on the mining, energy, sanitary, industrial, and agricultural sectors. Its assistance covers environmental impact studies; hydroelectric power plants, and salt and desalinated water supply projects; the underwriting of long-term water supply contracts; and appearing before the General Directorate of Water, General Comptroller of the Republic, ordinary and special courts of justice, and Environment Superintendence. The firm’s water resources offering is led by ‘excellent water law technicianMatías Desmadryl, whose track record includes being appointed Chile’s General Director of Water between 2010-2012, during which time he spearheaded the establishment of Chile’s National Water Information System. Supporting Desmadryl at associate level are administrative and water law expert Francisca Mendoza; and Franco Valenzuela, who is experienced in high-profile sanctioning procedures before the General Directorate of Water.

Practice head(s):

Matías Desmadryl


A very committed, attentive and high-level team.

Good contacts that allow the firm to have visibility of how the procedures are going, and it gives clients peace of mind that the issues are addressed from various angles.

Knows the process in its entirety and all the edges that may arise along the way.

‘Enough experience in the industry to make a difference to the advice provided.’

A high level of knowledge and strategic vision of how to face the issues – this differentiates it from competitors.

Excellent specialists, with strong technical levels and practical business outlooks.

The fact that Matías Desmadrylwas the General Director of Water gives a unique characteristic to the advice they provide.

Matías Desmadryl – in addition to being an excellent water law technician, he is a lawyer with business sense who knows how to understand clients’ needs well.

Key clients

Minera Los Pelambres

Antofagasta Minerals

Compa{ia Mineea Zaldívar


Aguas Andinas

Viña Luis Felipe Edwards


Sociedad Agrícola Campanario

Agrícola Ballerina

Matetic Wine Group

Lago Sofía




Laboratorios SAVAL


Norte Abierto

David del Curto

SCM Minera Lumina Copper Chile

Hidroeléctrica El Paso

Cabo de Hornos

Work highlights

  • Advised Minera Los Pelambres on developing and implementing a strategy and action plan to maintain a mining project’s water supply.
  • Advised Corporación Nacional del Cobre on several water resources matters.
  • Advising Matetic Wine Group on the development of various projects (wine, livestock, agriculture and tourism) that contemplate the use of water.

BEC Abogados

Acting for exporting companies, agricultural producers, and non-profit organisations that are in charge of water distribution in Chile, BEC Abogados’s natural resources department focuses on the implementation of water-use efficiency solutions in the energy, mining and real estate sectors. ‘Always up to date with the latest water law information’, the five-lawyer group is also particularly active in agricultural industry issues; and it routinely advises on the implementation of corporate social responsibility measures and crisis management-related communication campaigns in areas where water scarcity causes high levels of social pressure. The firm additionally houses a robust conflict resolution practice. The key advisers are water law-related disputes expert Gonzalo Bulnes Llompart, who ‘knows the industry particularly well’; Benjamín Bulnes León, whose practice includes representing water-user organisations before the State Administration’s different bodies; and former deputy director of the General Directorate of Water, Juan José Crocco Carrera.

Practice head(s):

Gonzalo Bulnes Llompart; Benjamín Bulnes León; Juan José Crocco Carrera


Always up to date with the latest water law information, and the lawyers have excellent contacts – superior knowledge of the effective use of water in the agricultural sector.

The team has a very close and attentive relationship with clients, and is proactive in seeking solutions.

Good availability from the team, strong networks, and strategy.

The team not only knows the regulations very well, but also the industry and the realities of this area. The lawyers are capable of giving concrete answers that go beyond what is strictly legal.

A group of lawyers with a very efficient way of acting. Fast, efficient and very available to their clients. The solutions – in addition to being legal, are logical and make sense.

Gonzalo Bulnes Llompart knows the industry particularly well and has a very good relationship with hydraulic engineers, which is why he is capable of forming and leading highly-effective interdisciplinary teams.

Gonzalo Bulnes Llompart is kind, respectful and sincere with clients – at the same time he is very firm and strict when dealing with public officials and with getting his homework done.  Great legal and technical knowledge of the sector.

Juan José Crocco Carrera and Gonzalo Bulnes Llompart provide great client service for very efficient costs.

Key clients

Exportadora Alcántara

Inmobiliaria Aconcagua

Compañía de Inversiones Adriático


Viña Almaviva

Comisión Nacional de Riego, Ministerio de Agricultura

Agrícola Bauzá

Agricultores de Aconcagua

Valhalla Energy

Fundación Chile – Escenarios Hídricos 2030

Agrícolas Bulnes

Regantes Río Perquilauquén

Junta de Vigilancia Río Mataquito

Junta de Vigilancia Río Lontué


Territoria Apoquindo

Work highlights

  • Advised DGS on both a compliance report and the implementation of measures.
  • Advised Comisión Nacional de Riego on the production of a practical guide for the promotion of investment in reservoirs.
  • Assisted Valhalla Energy with the processing and approval of the necessary hydraulic works for the operation of a cutting-edge ERNC project.

Dentons Chile

Dentons Chile’s water law department routinely advises individuals, companies and user organisations on their water rights. Representative experience for the five-member group covers the constitution and obtaining of water use permits, as well as defence-side contentious proceedings. Innovative areas for the team range from hydrogeological modelling, seawater extraction-plant developments and supply source changes, to groundwater detection, purchasing water rights, and aquifer recharge. One of the founding members of the Chilean Water Law Association, practice head José Ignacio Morán focuses on the water supply for mining projects and operations, groundwater exploration and exploitation, the constitution of water rights, representation during administrative and judicial proceedings, and advice on relations with water-users’ organisations; while José Domingo Villanueva (promoted to partner in January 2023) advises on water law issues (in addition to environmental law). Within the associate ranks, senior Jaime Cruzat assists with the use, acquisition and constitution of water rights, while Cristián Vial advises companies on their water rights.

Practice head(s):

José Ignacio Morán

Key clients

International ESG Fund

Compañía Minera Arqueros

Compañía Minera Nevada (Barrick Gold Co)


Agrícola Puente Viejo

Carsol Fruit

Energía de la Patagonia y Aysén (INVERCAP)

Inmobiliaria Las Brisas de Santo Domingo

Generadora Metropolitana

Rockcheck Group

Compañía Minera Zaldívar

Barrick Servicios Mineros (Barrick Gold Co)

Agrícola Palma de Aculeo

Work highlights

  • Advised International ESG Fund on an international operation to purchase part of a company that provides mining services in South America, which involved reviewing water issues.
  • Advises Compañía Minera Arqueros on its mining projects’ water supply issues.
  • Advises Compañía Minera Nevada on the water supply aspects of its mining projects.

Guerrero Olivos

The seven-strong water law department at full-service law firm Guerrero Olivos represents domestic and international clients from the mining, agribusiness, industrial and hydroelectric sectors. The team is experienced in obtaining and transferring water rights, and negotiating complex water supply, and purchase-and-sale agreements for projects. The practice also covers both the optimisation of water rights (including intake and restitution transfer applications) and modification of water supply sources, along with hydraulic works-related authorisations. It additionally acts in sanctioning processes and water law-related litigation. Benjamín Pérez is experienced in the water law aspects of project developments, the constitution and acquisition of water rights, and representation before the Water Bureau; and Sebastián Abogabir’s water rights' expertise covers regulatory and permitting matters. At associate level, senior Francisca Pellegrini assists with the water side to energy projects; Antonia Ibarra is an active member of the firm’s environmental and water rights practices; and Sebastián Mozó (mining projects-related water law issues) is a June 2022 hire from Vergara Galindo Correa Abogados.

Practice head(s):

Sebastián Abogabir; Benjamín Pérez

Key clients

Empresas Carozzi

SCA Atacama Kozan

Rio 2

Fundación San Carlos de Maipo

Empresas Ariztía

AAKTEI Energía


Concha y Toro

Antofagasta Minerals


Proyecto Mediterráneo

Fenix Gold


Work highlights

  • Advised Fundación San Carlos de Maipo (a non-profit entity that owns the Batuco Wetland) on the development of an iconic environmental protection project.
  • Advised Empresas Artiztía on strategic water rights matters, including the execution of a 10-year strategy to secure water supply for its production plants.
  • Advised Albemarle Corporation on the application for water rights for its mining operation in Chile.

LAWGIC Abogados

Launched in January 2020 as a natural resources and environmental law boutique, LAWGIC Abogados’ five-member group acts for both domestic national and international companies from the mining, energy, aquaculture, agri-business, tourism, real estate, and desalination and industrial water sectors. With ‘extensive experience in water rights issues’, the team is co-led at founding-partner level by former Carey senior associate, Sebastian Del Campo, whose longstanding water law-focus encompasses regulatory matters, administrative and judicial litigation, natural resources transactions, administrative and judicial litigation, and legal strategies for investment project developments; and fellow water rights law specialist Agustín Walker, a former Núñez Muñoz Abogados of counsel, whose broad experience covers mining, energy, agribusiness and infrastructure projects. At associate level, senior Francisco Silva is a February-2022 recruit from the litigation unit of the General Water Agency (DGA), while Karla Miranda is a water, environmental law and natural resources expert.

Practice head(s):

Sebastián Del Campo; Agustín Walker


Lawgic’s team has extensive experience in water rights issues.

Lawgic allows clients to access high-quality legal services and highly personalised attention, at a fraction of the cost that they would have to pay for other specialist water law firms.

Sebastián Del Campo has outstanding knowledge of everything concerning water law in Chile. He has a very practical approach, and is very friendly and always very easy to contact.

Key clients


Mowi Chile

Unifrutti Chile

HIF (Highly Innovative Fuels)

Latin America Power


Subsole (Frutura Group)

Ocean Grid

Inversiones Marchigüe

Inversiones Cisnes

CEP&D Abogados

Huneeus Wines

Agricola Doble R

Agrícola Santa Irene

Fundación Invica

Comité Mantagua

Agrícola Walnuss

Inmobiliaria Nuevas Cumbres

Agrícola El Rosario Limitada

Sociedad Bodega Buin

Work highlights

  • Advises Statkraft on the preparation and execution of its water law strategy for the development of hydroelectric power plants.
  • Advises MOWI on the water rights’ aspects of its aquaculture projects in Chile.
  • Advises Unifrutti on numerous water law matters.

Guzmán & Cia

Guzmán & Cia's eight-strong water rights department specialises in drinking water and sanitation law, as well as administrative and corporate law, natural resources, and litigation. The group routinely assists clients in matters involving the National Water Authority, the Superintendency of Sanitary Services, the General Comptroller of the Republic, the Environmental Evaluation Service, the Superintendence of the Environment, and the General Treasury of the Republic. With ‘great knowledge of  water legislation', department head and founding partner Alberto Guzmán Alcalde has a strong track record in high-stakes water rights cases; and at associate level, the specialisms of Roberto Parada Herrera and Cristian Álvarez Núñez cover administrative, water and natural resources law.

Practice head(s):

Alberto Guzmán Alcalde


A high level of knowledge, professionalism and commitment – creativity and experience in the regulatory aspects of water and renewable energy, and meets objectives within the desired time. Concrete solutions to the problems raised.

A great level of experience and knowledge of water use rights.

One of the strengths of the team is knowing how to access other disciplines properly in order to address specific cases comprehensively.

The team has very studious and rigorous lawyers for complex cases, which translates into having a very reliable team when it comes to proposing successful solutions.

Always keeps clients informed of new developments in water legislation.

A very good command of the different aspects, both practical and legal, of water law – the level of knowledge demonstrated is in line with what is expected from a front-line team. It is sophisticated and at the same time simple in its solutions. Clients highlight the team’s creativity and punctuality.

Alberto Guzmán Alcalde – great knowledge of the water legislation, and does a solid job before public and private organisations.

Alberto Guzmán Alcalde proposes good solutions to a range of problems.

Key clients

Familia Ossandón Larraín

Jaime Busquet Herrera

Juan Carlos Eyzaguirre Echenique

Cermaq Chile

Agrícola Don Adolfo

Luis Felipe Claro Swinburn

Viña Garcés Silva

Minería Activa


Gracia Cosmelli Pereira

Familia Pereira Gandarillas

Asociación de Canalistas Canal Lo Fontecilla

Universidad de Los Andes


Familia Cox Vial

Rodrigo Fernández Riesco

Saint Gabriel’s School

Sociedad Educacional San Anselmo

Consorcio Maipo

Work highlights

  • Advised Inversiones Praderas de La Dehesa Limitada (Familia Ossandón Larraín) on expropriation trials, which involved drinking water and sewage issues.
  • Acted for Consorcio Maipo in a lawsuit that opposed establishing a Surveillance Board on the Maipo River.
  • Acted for Cermaq Chile in four appeals against the Resolution of the Waters General Directorate, which related to a payment for alleged non-use of water rights.

IMAD Abogados

IMAD Abogados fields specialists in the water, mining and environmental law aspects of natural resource development projects. The firm’s niche water law practice is frequently sought out to prepare memoranda and specialised reports, in addition to advising on the exploration of groundwater and surface water. The group also assists with the regularisation of rights, permits for hydraulic works and the constitution of easements. Other notable areas are defence-side administrative and sanctioning proceedings, and the collection of fees for non-use of water use rights. Senior partner Domingo Irarrázaval, who ‘has extensive expertise in water rights’, predominantly advises on energy, mining and aquaculture projects.

Practice head(s):

Domingo Irarrázaval


Domingo Irarrázaval has extensive expertise in water rights.

Domingo Irarrázaval makes great contributions to projects, and this is recognised by both clients and counterparts.

Domingo Irarrázaval -the clarity of his presentations and the quick response times to clients’ requirements are some of his many qualities, in addition to his kind and cordial treatment.

Key clients

Piscicultura Loncotraro

Compañía Minera Teck Quebrada Blanca

Compañía Minera Teck Carmen de Andacollo

Frutera Aguas Blancas

Servicios e Inversiones Gestion Ambiental

Inmobiliaria e Inversiones Foresta del Mar

EDIC Ingenieros

Work highlights

  • Advising EDIC Ingenieros on water law and environmental issues, in relation to the feasibility of developing two large-scale hydraulic works projects.
  • Advising Compañía Minera Teck on water, mining and environmental law matters.
  • Assisted Frutera Aguas Blancas with a sanctioning proceeding involving water rights.

Pruzzo Ruscica Brotfeld Abogados

Founded in 2019, specialised environmental, water rights and energy law firm  Pruzzo Ruscica Brotfeld Abogados is notably active in relation to the mining, ports, agribusiness, utilities, construction, infrastructure, and electricity generation and transmission sectors. The firm’s water rights' department advises on both obtaining and modifying water rights, as well as regularisation issues. The group also assists with sectoral permits and the administrative and judicial defence of General Water Directorate decisions. The firm is additionally experienced in desalination projects, where it is able to leverage its expertise in environmental and mining law, along with maritime concessions. The broad practice of founding partner and former Jara del Favero & Ried Fabres lawyer, Javier Ruscica, covers the constitution of water use rights.

Practice head(s):

Javier Ruscica

Key clients

Aguas de Antofagasta


Grupo FG

AES Andes

Muelles de Penco

Work highlights

  • Advised Aguas de Antofagasta on obtaining the permit to modify the course of the San Salvador River for the Capellán project, which consists of the transport of industrial water from a wastewater treatment plant to different mining operations.
  • Advising Transelec on the regularisation of water use rights.
  • Assisting Grupo FG with the regularisation of water use rights.

Schenke Brancoli Abogados | SLBZ

The 11-strong water law department at boutique firm Schenke Brancoli Abogados | SLBZ specialises in the constitution of water rights, including regularisation, protection and safeguarding issues. The practice also fields experts in water law contracts; routinely acts for Water Code-governed companies; and advises on auditing and due diligence matters. Water law department leader Hipólito Zañartu has extensive water and mining law experience; and name partner Ricardo Brancoli represents companies in regulatory, environmental and natural resource-related conflicts. Associate Camila Pozo Parot is also a key team member.

Practice head(s):

Hipólito Zañartu; Ricardo Brancoli


They are excellent professionals with updated knowledge. Camila Pozo is a tremendous lawyer in the matter. Hipólito Zañartu is an expert.

Key clients

San Francisco Investment (Sun Dreams)

Del Monte Fresh Produce Chile

Aguas Andinas

T4F Chile




Forestal Russfin

Ecomac (Gestion y Desarrollo)

Pacific Hydro Chile

Menta Chile

José Antonio Echavarri P

Víctor Valverde Palma

Ingeniería y Construcción Ingesal

Camila Michelini Fernández

Rolf Gremler Zeh

Constructora Pucará

Stephanie Asthon

César López


Inmobiliaria KCP


Felipe Letelier

CNA Chile


Arch Comunicaciones Chile

Trends Industriales

Casino de Juegos Valdivia

Casino de Juegos Iquique

Constructora Altius

Rolando Varela


Agrícola y Lechera La Greda

Comercial Cascadas


Cristián Grohnert (Termofrio)


Sergio Díaz (Grupo FIDES)

Jaime Maturana

Günther Goecke

María Eugenia Prieto

Raúl Zilleruelo

Doña Carne

Arlette Adauy

Arauco Inmobiliaria

Lía Gavilán

Olivares de Quepu

Verónica Stein

Inmobiliaria Los Silos III

Luis Hernán González

Agrícola Pacífico Sur

María Paz Calleja

Constructora Altius

Cristian Grohnert

Mónica Henzi


Jaime Díaz

Inversiones KB

Inmobiliaria Agrícola Los Huapes

Consorcio Besalco Arauco

Asociación Nacional de Fútbol Profesional

Federación de Fútbol de Chile

Abbott Laboratories Chile

Laboratorios Recalcine

Engie Energía Chile

The Fruit Link

Eral Chile

Minera Algorta

Luis Meza Videla

Comercial Mahuida

Recondrilling Chile

Austral Berries

Punto Eléctrico (Sociedad Comercial Herratun)

Spacezat Tecnology

Antonio Puntí (Vineyard Punti Ferrer)

Sociedad Productora de Eventos Anden

Productora de Eventos La Morada del Cajón

Francisca Riesco


La Finca Teno


Cientochenta Grados

Tricapitals International

Cinthia Nallar


Pan Pacific Copper Exploration Chile

Minera ACF

Compañía Mantos de la Luna

Longaví River Surveillance Group

Minera Los Pelambres

Constructora Bío Bío

Compañía Minera Gatico

Construcciones y Transportes Laja

Work highlights

  • Advising Longaví River Surveillance Group (an organisation of water users that manages the Longaví River) on the administration of water rights’ lease contracts.
  • Assists Agricola UAC with litigation over water rights.
  • Advises Compañìa de Inversiones Adriático on mining and water issues, protection of water utilisation rights, and the constitution of water use rights.

Vergara Galindo Correa Abogados

Highly active in environmental and regulatory matters, Vergara Galindo Correa Abogados assists both domestic and foreign companies with the securing, regularisation and perfection of mining-sector-related water rights; actions before the General Department of Waters for the authorisation of transfers and adjustment of water rights; and procedures before the Hydraulic Works Department for the approval of water works and modification of water courses. It also advises on the development of desalination projects. The practice is led by mining, water and energy law specialist, Winston Alburquenque, who is also director of the Universidad Finis Terrae’s mining and water Masters' programmes. Recently-elevated associate director Solange Villarroel focuses on water law work, as well as natural resources-related transactions and litigation.

Practice head(s):

Winston Alburquenque