Frequently Asked Questions:
Assured and Adequate Water Supply Program:
An assured water supply determination is required in order to sell lots within a subdivision that is located within an Active Management Area (AMA). The assured water supply requirement can be met with a written commitment of service from a water provider designated as having an assured supply, or by obtaining a Certificate of Assured Water Supply. (Outside of AMAs, there are designated providers as well. Obtaining a written commitment of service from a provider that has a Designation of Adequate Water Supply meets the adequacy requirements; otherwise a Water Adequacy Report is required.) Please click here for the most current list of designated providers. If you are subdividing land into six or more lots within an AMA, you will need to either obtain a Certificate of Assured Water Supply or obtain a written commitment of service from a provider with a Designation, prior to obtaining your public report from the Department of Real Estate.
You may contact the Office of Assured and Adequate Water Supply at (602) 771-8500 or your local AMA office. Please be ready to provide a township, range and section legal description for the land you propose to subdivide. ADWR staff can tell you whether or not you are located inside an AMA, and therefore which program (Assured or Adequate Water Supply) applies to your subdivision.
Some cities, towns, private water companies and water districts have obtained a Designation of Assured Water Supply for their water service area. If your subdivision will be served water from a water provider who is designated, you will not need a Certificate of Assured Water Supply. Click here to see the most current list of designated providers. However, if your subdivision will be receiving water from a water provider who is not designated as having an assured water supply, then you as the developer will need to obtain a Certificate of Assured Water Supply for your subdivision. Designations are for water providers, Certificates are for subdivisions. If each lot purchaser in your subdivision will be providing their own water (usually by constructing a well), then the subdivision is considered a “dry lot” subdivision. A Certificate of Assured Water Supply must also be obtained for dry lot subdivisions within an AMA.
Water providers may choose to obtain a Designation of Assured Water Supply in order to facilitate development in their area. Subdivisions to be served by a designated water provider do not need to obtain their own Certificate of Assured Water Supply, but are covered by the designation. This can save the developer several months of time and move development along more quickly.
An Analysis of Assured Water Supply (Analysis of AWS) is for a master-planned community. Generally, if the master-planned community will be developed in phases, it can be helpful to obtain an Analysis of AWS. The Analysis of AWS verifies one or more of the requirements to obtain a Certificate of Assured Water Supply. Certificates will still be required for each phase of the subdivision; however, they can rely in part on the work that has already been completed previously for the Analysis of AWS. If there is an Analysis of AWS for your subdivision, reference the name and if possible the file number of the Analysis when you apply for your Certificate of Assured Water Supply. An Analysis of AWS that has proven physical availability sets aside water for the master-planned community for a period of 10 years.
An Analysis of Assured Water Supply (Analysis of AWS) that has proven physical availability sets aside a volume of water in the aquifer that can be drawn from for individual Certificates of Assured Water Supply that are filed within 10 years of the Analysis of AWS being issued by the Department of Water Resources.
A Physical Availability Determination (PAD) evaluates an area solely for the physical availability of water. Subsequent applications for Certificates of Assured Water Supply can rely on the hydrologic work already performed for the PAD. If your subdivision falls within the regional area that the PAD covers, you may save the time and effort of doing an individual hydrologic analysis for your subdivision. Frequently, water providers who do not have Designations of Assured Water Supply have PADs for their water service areas. Check with the water provider who will be serving your subdivision to see if they have a PAD on file with the Department of Water Resources. If so, reference the name and the file number for the PAD on your application for a Certificate of Assured Water Supply.
Physical Availability Determinations or PADs do not reserve water for development. They are analyses of hydrologic conditions for a local region, usually for a particular water provider.
Extinguishment credits are generated when a grandfathered groundwater right is extinguished. The extinguished right can never be used again; however, the credits generated can be pledged to a Certificate of Assured Water Supply or Designation of Assured Water Supply to help meet the consistency with management goal requirement. This criterion must be met in order to obtain the Certificate or Designation of Assured Water Supply. Extinguishment credits are not the only way to prove consistency with management goal, but they are helpful in doing so (see also CAGRD membership). Essentially, the credits offset groundwater use by the proposed subdivision.
To extinguish a grandfathered groundwater right, an application must be submitted and approved. Click here to go to the Forms section of the ADWR Web page. Print out the form entitled “Extinguishment of Grandfathered Groundwater Right for Assured Water Supply Credits.” Fill out the form and file it with your local AMA office. If you have questions about the filling out the form, or the extinguishment of rights in general, contact the AMA office where you are located, or alternatively, you can call the Office of Assured and Adequate Water Supply at (602) 771-8500.
Applications for CAGRD membership can be obtained from the CAP website. Go to www.cagrd.com/ .
The Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRD) has their own application process and fee structure. You can learn how much the application fee will be for your subdivision by downloading the CAGRD application from the CAP website. Go to www.cagrd.com/ . Once your subdivision is enrolled as a member land within the CAGRD, the individual lot purchasers within your subdivision will be taxed on an annual basis depending on their individual water use.
A CC&N is required if you are being served by a private water company (either a new water company or an existing one). Private water companies are regulated through the Arizona Corporation Commission, as well as the Arizona Department of Water Resources, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, and other agencies. The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) issues CC&Ns. If a water improvement district, or a municipality (city or town) will serve your subdivision, or if your subdivision is a “dry lot” subdivision, where each lot purchaser will have their own private well constructed, you do not need a CC&N. For a subdivision being served by a homeowners association (HOA), the ACC must adjudicate that the HOA is not for public service. If the ACC determines that the HOA is for public service, a CC&N is needed.
A water service area right must be established in order for any water provider to legally serve groundwater to customers. The Arizona Department of Water Resources regulates water service areas. To create a water service area, you must first obtain a “seed right” to use as the authority to withdraw groundwater to serve the subdivision. If you are drilling a new well in conjunction with the new proposed service area, you will also need to file a Notice of Intent to Drill a Non-Exempt Well form with the Department and obtain a drill card prior to drilling your new well. You must petition the Department to establish a new water service area, and must serve four customers at the end of the establishment period (usually 12 months) in order to qualify for a service area right. Contact the AMA office where your subdivision will be located for assistance in correctly following the steps to create a new water service area right. If enough volume of seed right is obtained, a Certificate of Assured Water Supply may be issued while you complete the water service area establishment process.
Several pieces of information are required to obtain a Certificate of Assured Water Supply. Sometimes complicating factors require the submittal of additional information for clarification. Generally, the Department of Water Resources requires at a minimum:
The time it takes to obtain a Certificate of Assured Water Supply depends on the complexity and completeness of the application. Incomplete or incorrect applications take longer to process. Applications that depend on Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRD) enrollment cannot be issued until the CAGRD recordation process is completed. The law allows the Arizona Department of Water Resources 210 days to process your application, not including the time it takes you to supply missing information or correct erroneous items on your application. Generally, however, it has historically taken between 3 and 6 months for the Department to issue a Certificate of Assured Water Supply from the day the application arrives in our office.
Not at the present time. However, applications for a Change of Ownership of an existing Certificate of Assured Water Supply can be processed more quickly than new certificate applications if the plat has not changed and all other information besides the ownership is the same.
A helpful tool to use to calculate demand for a Certificate of Assured water supply is the demand calculator. Another source of information includes the current management plan for the AMA in which your subdivision is located. You can also use U.S. census data and water use records for the water provider who will be serving your subdivision. For demands that you are not sure how to calculate, contact the Office of Assured and Adequate Water Supply or your local AMA office for assistance.
Not at the present time. Certificates of Assured Water Supply are tied to the owner of the subdivision and the plat that was reviewed prior to issuance of the Certificate. If the ownership of the subdivision changes, in whole or in part, the new owner must apply for their own Certificate of Assured Water Supply for the lots that they have purchased and intend to develop. It is important to note that all entities that will be appearing on the public report from the Arizona Department of Real Estate must be listed on the Certificate of Assured Water Supply in order for the Certificate to be valid. This includes contracting and sales branches of the same parent company.
The Certificate of Assured Water Supply is valid only for the plat that was reviewed with your application. If you change the plat after the Certificate is issued, you no longer have an assured water supply and cannot legally sell lots. If the plat changes, you will have to reapply for a new Certificate of Assured Water Supply based on the new plat.
Frequently after a Certificate of Assured Water Supply is issued to a developer, the developer will sell a number of lots to one or more homebuilders. If the number of lots sold to the builder constitutes a subdivision, the builder will have to obtain his own Certificate of Assured Water Supply, which may delay home sales by 3-6 months. One way to avoid this situation is to obtain an option or purchase agreement with one or more home builders/sales entities at the time you apply for the Certificate of Assured Water Supply. The Certificate will list you as the owner or seller, with the home builder/sales entity as an optionee or buyer. The entity that will ultimately be selling the lots to the home buyers must be listed on the Certificate of Assured Water Supply and match the entity listed on the public report from the Department of Real Estate. Certificates of Assured Water Supply are not transferable, but entities listed on a Certificate of Assured Water Supply as buyers or optionees that subsequently exercise their purchase rights can rely on the original Certificate because they were listed as having an ownership interest on that Certificate.
How do I know if I have to submit a hydrologic study with my application for a Certificate of Assured Water Supply?
If there is not an existing Physical Availability Determination (PAD) or Analysis of Assured Water Supply (Analysis of AWS) for the area in which your subdivision is located and your subdivision is greater than 20 lots in size, you must independently have a hydrologic study prepared for submission with your application for a Certificate of Assured Water Supply. PADs are hydrologic studies that cover a large local area and the water provider for your subdivision may have already obtained a PAD. Contact the water provider to find out if there the water provider has a PAD. If so, reference the PAD on your application. If your subdivision is part of a master-planned community there may have been an Analysis of AWS issued for the master plan. Contact the entity that prepared the subdivision master plan to find out if an Analysis of AWS for the subdivision exists, and if the analysis included a demonstration of physical availability. Alternatively, you may contact the office of Assured and Adequate Water Supply to find out if there is a PAD or Analysis of AWS for your subdivision. If you must submit a new hydrologic study with your certificate application, please click here for guidelines for hydrologic studies.