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Water Management

Water Planning Home Page




Irrigation District Queries and Reports

Irrigation Grandfathered Rights Flexibility Account Information

Click here for a live report that allows users to request current flexibility account balances, allotments, and flexibility account credits for sale by district.  The report is based on data in the Registry so as credits are bought and sold, the credits available for sale and balances update automatically.  Whereas previously there could have been two flex reports per district (one for recently conveyed rights and one for right that have not recently been conveyed), the new query combines data for both categories into one report. 

Flexibility Account Transfer Form

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Flexibility Accounts


Solar Power Plants in Arizona

Requirements for solar power plants in Arizona differ depending on the location of the proposed facility and the proposed water source. Click Here to visit the Solar Power Plant Webpage





Map of the AMAs Prescott AMA Phoenix AMA Pinal AMA Tucson AMA Santa Cruz AMA

Water planning in Arizona entered a new dimension in 1980 when the Legislature enacted the Groundwater Management Code Adobe pdf and created the Arizona Department of Water Resources to implement it.  The goal of the Code is to control severe groundwater depletion and to provide the means for allocating Arizona's limited groundwater resources to most effectively meet the state's changing water needs.

The main purpose of the Water Planning Division is to provide for long-term management and conservation of the limited groundwater supplies in the five Active Management Areas (AMAs), areas that historically have had a heavy reliance on groundwater. Arizona used an estimated 7.6 million acre-feet (maf) of water in 2005. In that same year the AMAs consumed 3.7 maf, 48% of the total use in the state.In 2005, the AMAs had a population of 4.9 million, which represents 83% of the population of the state (5.95 million at the time.)

The Water Planning Division administers state laws, explores ways of augmenting water supplies to meet future needs, and routinely works to develop public policy in order to promote efficient use and an equitable allocation of available water supplies.

The major statutory programs managed by the Water  Planning Division include:

  • AMA Management Plans for the Municipal, Industrial and Agricultural Sectors

  • Assured Water Supply Program

  • Adequate Water Supply Program

  • Compliance Program

  • Recharge Program

  • Well Rules and Notice of Intent to Drill



The Assured Water Supply (AWS) Program protects consumers inside the AMAs by ensuring that people buying or leasing subdivided land within AMAs have sufficient water.  A new subdivision will not be approved and homes may not be sold or leased in an AMA unless the applicant can demonstrate that there is sufficient water of adequate quality for at least 100 years. The applicant must apply for and receive a Certificate of Assured Water Supply from the Department.

The Adequate Water Supply Program ensures that people buying or leasing subdivided land outside of AMAs are notified of whether their water supply is “adequate” or “inadequate” for at least 100 years. However, subdivisions may be approved and homes may be sold outside of an AMA even if an inadequate water supply determination is made.  New subdivisions apply to the Department for a Water Report (Letter of Adequate Water Supply) prior to lot sales, and must share the findings with the public. The Water Report indicates either 1) adequate water supplies or 2) inadequate water supplies.



Picture of Sub division



The purpose of the Recharge Program is to encourage the delivery, storage and use of renewable water supplies (e.g. surface water, treated wastewater). This program includes water supplies that are stored underground, water supplies that are released into natural stream channels to recharge the aquifer, and farms or irrigation districts that use a renewable water supply instead of groundwater that would have otherwise been pumped.

  Avra Valley Recharge



Drilling a well anywhere in the state requires approval from ADWR. Drilling and operation of wells within AMAs are generally subject to more restrictions than outside of AMAs. In general, exempt wells (those wells with a maximum pump capacity of 35 gpm, often for domestic use) are less regulated than non-exempt wells (generally having a pump capacity greater than 35 gpm).  For withdrawals of groundwater from non-exempt wells within AMAs, state law assesses withdrawal fees and requires annual groundwater withdrawal and use reports to be filed.

Well drillers and wells owners are advised that wells that are drilled without official authorization are "illegal" wells, and compliance actions may be taken against well drillers and well owners who drill such wells.  



Well Image: Wind Mill and water tank


ADWR developed a compliance and enforcement program to ensure that conservation requirements are met. Annual water withdrawal and use reports are one part of this program. Audits are conducted to determine if water users are in compliance with conservation requirements. If a water user is found to be out of compliance, ADWR sends out a notice of non-compliance, conducts post audit meetings with the water user, and attempts to negotiate a settlement for the excess water used.




The primary purpose of the Data Management section is to centralize the data collected by the Active Management Areas, Irrigation Non-Expansion Areas and other sections of Water Planning so that is easier to access and therefore more useful to not just ADWR staff, but the public as well.  The majority of this data, which is available for each AMA beginning in the year 1985, is housed in what are known as the Assessment Templates and will be updated annually.




Each of the five AMAs (Phoenix, Pinal, Prescott, Santa Cruz and Tucson) is required to comply with the regulations in the Management Plans pursuant to the Groundwater Code. The Douglas Irrigation Non-expansion Area (INA) is administered by the Tucson AMA. The Harquahala and Joseph City INAs are administered by the Phoenix AMA.

The AMAs are currently in the Third Management Plan (2000 – 2010) and in the initial stages of formulating the Fourth Management Plan ( 2010 – 2020).