William D. Wombacher


Legal Assistant: Erika Cwetna


William works with the firm’s Water and Environmental team in Denver. His practice focuses on helping clients with complex water rights issues throughout Colorado, including adjudications, litigation, well permitting, and water planning. William’s experience includes securing new and protecting existing water rights through the adjudication process including drafting water court applications, statements of opposition and water court decrees and negotiating stipulations with other water users. In this capacity, he has represented a wide array of clients including municipalities, ski resorts, ranch owners, real estate developers, ditch companies, reservoir operators, water districts and individuals. This varied experience allows William to cater his representation to the specific needs of his clients with a focus on practical and efficient solutions. William’s engineering background also provides a unique perspective that allows him to more effectively communicate with engineers, geologists, hydrologists, and water resources experts on nuanced areas of water rights law and water resources issues. This is particularly valuable during complex water rights litigation.

William also assists clients with real estate transactions—particularly those that involve water rights issues. This work includes due diligence for water rights and easements, chain of title research to confirm water rights ownership, and the drafting of deeds, leases, and agreements. Additionally, William assists clients with quiet title actions, breaches of contract, easement disputes, storm water issues, HOA conflicts, and other real estate issues. William is also a participant in the Colorado Water Congress State Affairs Committee and is actively involved with monitoring, reviewing, and drafting new legislation pertaining to water rights and water resources. 

While in law school, William served as the Lead Notes and Comments Editor for the Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law & Policy as well as research assistant for David Getches and Mark Squillace. He also served as law clerk for Lyons, Gaddis, Kahn & Hall P.C., the United States Department of Agriculture Office of General Counsel, and the Colorado Office of the Attorney General. While pursuing his undergraduate degree, he worked as a drinking water treatment plant operator and was a member of the Dean’s list. Before joining Ryley Carlock & Applewhite, William practiced for 6 years at a boutique water law firm in Boulder.

In his free time, William is an avid cyclist (mountain and road) and enjoys spending time in the Colorado outdoors with his wife and two dogs.


  • Guest Contributor, “Water Rights for Restoration (Conservation Finance Series, Part 7 of 9),” Western Landowners Alliance, October 2018
  • "There’s Cologne in the Water: The Inadequacy of U.S. Environmental Statutes to Address Emerging Environmental Contaminants," 21 COLO. J. INT’L ENVTL. L. & POL’Y  521, 2010
  • "Swimming in Uncertainty: Regulatory Change is Necessary to Address Organic Wastewater Contaminants in Iowa’s Water," Iowa Policy Project, 2009
  • "Synthetic Musk Fragrances in a Conventional Drinking Water Treatment Plant with Lime Softening," 135 AM. SOC’Y OF CIVIL ENGINEERS J. ENVTL. ENGINEERING 1192, 2009
  • "Fate of Eight Synthetic Musk Fragrances in a Conventional Water Treatment Facility," International Conference on Analysis of Emerging Contaminants in the Environment, United Kingdom, 2007
  • "Fate of Eight Synthetic Musk Fragrances in a Conventional Water Treatment Facility," Stockholm University’s Department of Applied Environmental Sciences, Sweden, 2007


  • Colorado Water Congress, State Affair Committee
  • Colorado Bar Association
Profile Information




  • University of Colorado Law School, J.D., 2010
  • University of Iowa, M.S., Environmental Engineering, 2007
  • University of Iowa, B.S., Civil/Environmental Engineering, 2006


  • Colorado, 2010
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado, 2012

Related News