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Water Management

 Conservation Requirements

Conservation Requirements for the Municipal, Industrial, and Agricultural Sectors
One of ADWR’s more successful management tools has been the development and implementation of mandatory conservation requirements for all users of groundwater within the AMAs. Municipal water providers, industrial users and agricultural water users have all been subject to these requirements since the First Management Plan became effective in 1987. The current conservation requirements are described in the Third Management Plan 2000 -2010 and its modifications.

The three primary sector-related conservation requirements are summarized below.

Chapter 4 - Agricultural Conservation Requirements

• No new agricultural acreage in production.
• Each farm (Irrigation Grandfathered Right) is assigned a maximum annual
  groundwater allotment, based on assumed irrigation efficiencies of 65 to 80%.
• Certain farms have enrolled in an optional best management practices program.
• Irrigation district distribution system losses are not to exceed 10%.

Chapter 5 - Municipal Conservation Requirements

• Large municipal water providers with a designation of assured water supply participate in the Gallons Per Capita Per Day (GPCD) program or the Modified Non-Per Capita Conservation Program (Modified NPCCP).
• Large municipal water providers without a designation of assured water supply must participate in the Modified NPCCP.
• Large municipal provider distribution system losses are not to exceed 10% annually.


Chapter 6 - Industrial Conservation Requirements

• Allotment-based requirements for large turf facilities, dairies and feedlots.
• Best management practices or design limitations are required of mines, cooling towers, sand and gravel operations, large scale power plants and new large landscape users.


Conservation Accomplishments in the AMAs
The development and implementation of mandatory conservation requirements for all users of groundwater have resulted in increased water savings and efficiency in the AMAs. Municipal water providers, industrial users, and agricultural water user have all been subject to these requirements since the First Management Plan became effective in 1987. The results include:

  •  Cities, towns, water companies, agriculture, and industry are implementing conservation measures as required.
  •  Regional planning efforts within each AMA have expanded.
  • There has been an increase in the conversion from groundwater (a non-renewable supply) to renewable water supplies.
  • Monitoring of groundwater conditions and land subsidence is now ongoing.
  • There are restrictions on new agricultural land and private lakes.
  • New subdivisions must demonstrate 100 years of sustainable water supplies.
  • Well regulations include well measurement requirements, permits for groundwater withdrawal, and withdrawal fees.
  • Grants and assistance have supported education, research, outreach, monitoring, augmentation, recharge, and a variety of other conservation programs in all the AMAs.


A Summary of Water Conservation Programs in Active Management Areas
This summary is intended to serve as a resource for municipal water providers and other organizations wishing to begin or expand their water conservation programs. It contains information about conservation services, education programs, outreach, rate structures, incentive programs, ordinances, and other conservation measures implemented by municipal water providers and private water companies.
A Summary of Water Conservation Programs in Active Management Areas, 2007Adobe.pdf


Conservation Best Management Practices in AMA Municipal Regulatory Program

55 large municipal water providers in AMAs are currently participating in the Modified Non-per Capita Conservation Program (MNPCCP). 


Statewide Conservation Program

In July of 2007, ADWR's Water Management Division and Statewide Planning Division staff developed a Conservation Program based on integrating conservation best practices in the AMAs with statewide outreach and assistance. ADWR works to achieve the mission of promoting and encouraging the wise and efficient use of water by developing conservation tools and resources, assisting Arizona communities and water providers, collaborating with regional and national partners, and participating in outreach activities.

ADWR Statewide Conservation Website.





Planners &






Commercial, Industrial & Institutional



Water Education

ADWR Conservation Staff
About Us

Conservation Assistance Programs
The AMAs have supported non-regulatory conservation efforts primarily through their Water Management Assistance Programs, funded through a portion of the groundwater withdrawal fees paid annually by persons withdrawing groundwater from regulated wells in the AMA. This funding has been used to support conservation specialist positions and to fund conservation projects, monitoring, planning assistance, technical support, research, community outreach and education efforts.

A Summary of Funded Projects 1992 – 2010 in the Phoenix AMAAdobe.pdf
Chapter 9 in each AMA Management Plan


Low Water Use Plant Lists
The ADWR Regulatory Plant Lists are used to regulate public medians and rights-of-way in Arizona’s five Active Management Areas (AMAs). The lists are typically developed with the assistance of horticulturists, botanists, and various municipal, nursery, and landscape specialists in the specific AMA. Jurisdictions within the AMAs frequently adopt the lists and incorporate them into ordinances and design guidelines for development. The lists sometimes serve as a non-regulatory resources for residents.

• Low Water Use, Drought Tolerant Plant Lists.

LWU Plant List


Conservation Resources and Assistance
For more information about conservation resources, outreach, and assistance, contact:
Statewide Conservation: (602) 771-8585