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Water Management

Pinal AMA Home Page


"Conserving and sustaining all water resources...It's our future."


Evaluation of the Agriculture BMP Program Final Report - click here Acrobat Icon PDFs

Flexibility Account Balances and Credits Available for Sale

Mission Statement

The mission of the Pinal Active Management Area is to ensure a reliable and sustainable water supply will efficiently meet current and future water uses within the Pinal AMA while protecting the environment and general economy.

Pinal AMA Goal


Pinal Agricultural irrigation The statutory management goal of the Pinal AMA is to allow development of non-irrigation uses and to preserve existing agricultural economies in the AMA for as long as feasible, consistent with the necessity to preserve future water supplies for non-irrigation uses.


AMA Description

The Pinal AMA (map) Acrobat PDF covers approximately 4,000 square miles in central Arizona. The topography consists of gently sloping alluvial basins separated by north to northwest trending fault-block mountains. Land surface elevations range from 1,000 to 4,000 feet above sea level. The AMA consists of five sub basins with unique groundwater underflow, storage, and surface water characteristics. These subbasins are: Maricopa-Stanfield, Eloy, Vekol Valley, Santa Rosa Valley, and Aguirre Valley. The boundaries of the subbasins follow the highest elevation of topographic divides separating areas from where surface water runoff emanates. The boundaries that separate the Eloy and Maricopa-Stanfield subbasins also signify the presence of groundwater divides that define the extent of groundwater underflow. Migration of groundwater underflow between these subbasins is limited or non-existent.

AMA Water Budget (Supply and Demand)

The Pinal AMA’s supply and demand estimates, also known as a “ water budget”, are designed to volumetrically account for annual supply and demand use figures. The most recent water budget is for 2006 and is currently being updated. Click here for a Summary of the Pinal AMA Water Demand and Supply Assessment: 1985 - 2025.


AMA Conservation Requirements

One of the Department’s responsibilities under the 1980 Groundwater Code is to develop a management plan for each AMA for each of the five management periods. The Code requires that each management plan “include a continuing mandatory conservation program for all persons withdrawing, distributing, or receiving groundwater designed to achieve reductions in withdrawals of groundwater.” Mandatory conservation does not apply to Indian reservations, nor does any other requirement of the management plan or code. Chapters 4,5, and 6 of the Third Management Plan (TMP) for the Pinal AMA contain the agricultural, municipal, and industrial conservation programs respectively. Specific conservation requirements for groundwater users and groundwater distribution systems are found at the end of Chapters 4 and 5 and the end of the sections for the 10 industrial program categories contained in Chapter 6. Pinal Irrigation Gate

It should be noted that the modifications to the TMP, which were adopted in May 2003, have resulted in a number of changes to the conservation programs for all three water use sectors. This is especially true for agricultural water users, as an entirely new Chapter 4 has replaced Chapter 4 in the TMP. Major changes were made to the municipal conservation program in modifications to the TMP that were adopted in May 2008. For further information concerning specific conservation requirements by program, agricultural, municipal, or industrial.

Pinal AMA Major Water Management Issues

  • Amendment of Pinal AMA Assured Water Supply Rules

The Department has amended the Assured Water Supply (AWS) Rules for the Pinal AMA to delay the first reduction in the allocation factor used to calculate extinguishment credits for the extinguishment of grandfathered groundwater rights in the AMA. An extinguishment credit is an allowance for an AWS determination to pump additional groundwater based on retirement of an existing grandfathered groundwater right in the AMA.

Prior to this rule amendment, the first reduction in the allocation factor for the calculation of extinguishment credits was scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2010, with additional reductions each year thereafter until the allocation factor became zero beginning with calendar year 2055. The rule amendment delays the first reduction in the allocation factor until January 1, 2014 and increases the allocation factors for calendar years 2014 through 2016. No changes were made for the allocation factors for calendar years 2017 and thereafter. The Notice of Final Rulemaking for this rule amendment was published in the Arizona Administrative Register on November 27, 2009, and the rule amendment became effective on January 2, 2010.  Click here to view the Notice of Final Rulemaking. Click here to view an informational fact sheet regarding extinguishment credits within the Pinal AMA. For more information on this rule amendment, please contact Jeff Tannler, Area Director of the Pinal Active Management Area, at 602.771.8424.

  • There is a critical need to develop water management programs to “preserve future water supplies for non-irrigation uses” in the Pinal AMA. A comprehensive planning and program effort is needed to ensure a reliable and sustainable supply of water for municipal and industrial uses.
  • Groundwater mining by industrial users is rapidly increasing in the Pinal AMA and needs to be limited to an annual amount that is consistent with the need to preserve future water supplies for non-irrigated uses.
  • There is a need for regional recharge and recovery planning in the Pinal AMA to minimize the impacts of critical area problems that may develop in the future, including lack of physical availability of groundwater, excessive water level decline rates, land subsidence, and earth fissuring.


Management Plan Development and Modification

Third Management Plan – Second Modification

On January 9, 2008, the Director issued orders promulgating proposed modifications to the Third Management Plans for the purpose of adding a modified Non-Per Capita Conservation Program. Public hearings on the proposed modifications were held in Phoenix, Casa Grande, Prescott, Nogales and Tucson during the first week of March, 2008. On April 1, 2008, the Director issued a summary of the hearings and findings with respect to the matters considered during the hearings (“Summary of Hearings and Findings”). In the Summary of Hearings and Findings, the Director indicated that two changes would be made to the proposed modifications in response to comments received during the public hearings. On April 1, 2008, the Director issued orders adopting the proposed modifications with the changes described in the Summary of Hearings and Findings.

To view the Summary of Hearings and Findings, click here. To view the transcript of public hearing, Order of Adoption and modification language for each AMA, click on the appropriate link below:  

Pinal AMA – Transcript of Public HearingAdobe Acrobat, Order of AdoptionAdobe Acrobat, ModificationMicrosoft Word

Well Information

Groundwater Rights and Permits Information


Pinal AMA Links



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