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Water Management

Regulatory Programs


Fountain in Tempe


Undesignated water providers must join the Modified Non per Capita Conservation Program (Modified NPCCP), a performance-based program implementing water conservation measures that result in water use efficiency in their service area. 

If remaining in the GPCD program (designated providers only) providers must meet per capita use targets or implement a series of stringent conservation practices. There are also requirements to minimize system losses and incentives to use non-groundwater supplies.





Turf and lake in Arizona



Click here for basic information regarding Type 2 Non-Irrigation Grandfathered Rights.

Please contact the AMA Planning and Data Management section at 602-771-8585 for a current list of Type 2 water rights within any of the five Active Management Areas.


Ways in which an industrial facility may pump/receive water:

There are several ways an industrial facility can pump or receive water to use on their turf, lakes and xeriscape

          • Type 1 non-irrigation grandfathered right
          • Type 2 non-irrigation grandfathered right
          • Withdrawal permit
          • Recovery permit
          • Delivery by a municipal provider
          • Delivery by an irrigation district

Grandfathered Rights

There are two types of grandfathered rights that can be used by industrial facilities:

    Type 2 non-irrigation right

    Type 1 non-irrigation right

If a grandfathered right is sold, both the buyer and seller must notify ADWR.  Forms are available HERE or by contacting the Department.  The new owner will receive a new Certificate of Grandfathered Right.


Type 1 Non-Irrigation Grandfathered Right

The Type 1 non-irrigation grandfathered right (Type 1 right) is a right to use groundwater for non-irrigation purposes. 

  • It is associated with farmland that has been retired from cultivation to a non-agricultural use.  Examples of non-irrigation uses of Type 1 rights include golf courses or sand & gravel operations. 
  • Once an Irrigation grandfathered right has been converted to a Type 1 right, the retired farmland can never be irrigated to grow crops again.
  • The Type 1 right may only be used pursuant to the land with which it is associated.




Type 2 Non-Irrigation Grandfathered Right

The Type 2 non-irrigation grandfathered right (Type 2 right) is a right to pump groundwater from a well for non-irrigation purposes.  The right is based on historical pumping of groundwater for a non-irrigation use and equals the maximum amount pumped in any one year between 1975 and 1980.

  • Type 2 rights can be sold separately from the land or well.  People needing groundwater for non-irrigation use may wish to consider buying or leasing a Type 2 right. 
  • A Type 2 right may be leased in part or whole with the Department’s approval.  A Notification of a Lease must be filed with the Department.
  • An owner wishing to add or delete wells from the Certificate must apply to ADWR.  The well(s) must be located within the same AMA as the Type 2 Certificate.

















For those facilities that will withdrawal groundwater but do not have Grandfathered Rights may apply for a permit.  Applications can be found here.

Withdrawal Permits

Permits are available for almost any non-irrigation use, but certain conditions must be met.  As shown in the list below, there are eight types of withdrawal permits.


      • Dewatering
      • Mineral Extraction and Metallurgical Processing
      • General Industrial Use
      • Poor Quality Groundwater Withdrawal
      • Temporary Electrical Energy Generation
      • Temporary Dewatering
      • Drainage
      • Hydrologic Testing

    A General Industrial Use (GIU) Permit is the mostly commonly used type of permit. 

    • It allows the withdrawal of groundwater for industrial or commercial uses outside the service area of a city, town, or private water company. 
    • This permit can be used to pump groundwater for almost all non-irrigation uses, including shopping centers, parks, golf courses, livestock production, and industries other than mining and power generation. 
    • It cannot be obtained to pump domestic water for subdivisions.

    Restrictions also apply to the other type of groundwater withdrawal permits.  Information on obtaining withdrawal permits is available from DWR.

Recovery Permits

A Recovery Well Permit allows the permit holder to recover long-term storage credits or recover stored water annually.  The impact of recovering stored water in the proposed location must not damage other land and water users as noted in the adopted well spacing and impact rules.  An impact analysis is required under certain circumstances.


Regulated industrial facilities: Turf facility, Dairy, Feedlot, Power Plant, Sand & Gravel and Mines. 



PhxAMA Golf
A PhxAMA School

Turf facilities are the largest group with 556 facilities as of January 2009:

179 golf courses

135 schools

73 homeowner’s community

16 cemeteries

144 parks

9 misc

Sky Harbor International Airport Phoenix Pioneer Memorial Park Steele Indian School Park



Dairies that have a monthly average of 100 or more lactating cows are regulated by the Department.  The dairies are going strong in the PhxAMA with 75 actively regulated facilities.



Power plants that produce or are designed to produce more than 25 megawatts of electricity are regulated by the Department.



Sand & Gravel operations



Currently there are no regulated mines in the PhxAMA




Lettuce field


Water Efficiency Information for Arizona's Agriculture Sector


ADWR supports several programs that help farmers and urban irrigation users improve the efficiency of their irrigation programs.


The Phoenix AMA provides support to the Water Conservation Management Program (WCMP), which was established in 1991 and is administered by the East Maricopa Natural Resources Conservation District. WCMP staff use a mobile irrigation lab to provide on-site technical assistance to agricultural (and urban) water users in the Phoenix AMA to help guide their irrigation water management decisions.


Crop rotation Concrete Lined Ditch Ag Sprinkler Rose Farm

To see additional photos and descriptions of some of the irrigation systems and management practices that result in the efficient use of agricultural irrigation water, click here.     Links to  agencies and organizations that provide information and assistance to Arizona farmers and ranchers can be found on that page


ADWR also assists enrollees in the Agricultural Best Management Practices (BMP) Program, which applies in all the Active Management Areas-- Phoenix, Pinal, Tucson, Santa Cruz, and Prescott-- covering five counties and about 600,000 irrigated acres.  ADWR and the Agricultural Water Conservation Best Management Practices Advisory Committee developed the program with grant assistance from the NRCS, and partners included the University of Arizona and USDA-Agricultural Research Service.  Technical assistance to the program is provided by the WCMP in Phoenix AMA, and the Irrigation Management Service (IMS) in Pinal AMA.


Contact Information:

Agriculture Best Management Practices Program:

Amy Levy, ADWR, 602-771-8617 [email protected]

Chris Fredman, East Maricopa NRCD, 480-244-8394 [email protected].

Irrigation Management Service:

Eduardo Enriquez, Irrigation Specialist, 520-836-1960, [email protected]




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