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Agriculture Homepage


"We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one."

~ Jacques Cousteau


Irrigated agriculture is the largest use of water in Arizona, using about 68% of the available water supply. In the past, this percentage was as high as 90%; reductions have been the result of both urbanization of agricultural lands and heavy investment by the irrigated agriculture industry in conservation measures both on-farm and in delivery systems.

These investments and practices help growers stretch water supplies, increase productivity and profits, manage situations of water supply scarcity, reduce energy costs and meet the conservation requirements of Arizona's 1980 Groundwater Code.

The links below provide water-efficiency information and assistance for Arizona farmers and ranchers.



Arizona’s Groundwater Management Act (GMA) requires regulation of agricultural irrigation water users within five Active Management Areas (AMAs).  Non-expansion is one of the GMA’s key components; this provision limits irrigated farmland to those lands that were legally irrigated between 1975 and 1980.  

Ag, Photos

Spotlight on Conservation


ADWR's Agricultural Water Conservation Program


Best Management Practices Fact Sheet outlines the basics of the program and enrollment procedures. Acrobat Icon PDFs (29.56 KB)

Additionally, agricultural water conservation programs were established in each management plan.  The default conservation program (Base Program) has been in place since the First Management Plan.  The Base Program assigns irrigation water allotments based on consumptive use of crops grown between 1975 and 1980, multiplied by an assigned irrigation efficiency.  The first modification to the Third Management Plan (2003) created an innovative Best Management Practices (BMP) Program as a voluntary alternative to the Base Program.


Other Agencies

Arizona Department of Environmental Quality Agricultural Best Management PracticesOffSite Icon
The Arizona Agricultural Best Management Practices Committee was established in 1998 by Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S) § 49-457 to research and adopt best management practices (BMPs) for agricultural operations that generate dust. The BMPs are designed to reduce emissions of particulate matter of 10 microns or smaller (PM10) in the Maricopa County Serious PM10 non-attainment area. Periodically the Committee reexamines the BMPs to review effectiveness, modifies them if necessary, or adopts new measures.

Arizona Department of AgricultureOffSite Icon is a cabinet-level statewide agency that regulates and supports Arizona agriculture in a manner that encourages farming, ranching, and agribusiness while protecting consumers and natural resources. It consists of three main divisions: Animal Services, Environmental Services, and Plant Services; and includes a State Agricultural Laboratory; a Citrus, Fruit and Vegetable Standardization and Fresh Produce Grade Inspection program; and an Agricultural Consultation and Training program.

Agriculture Section Navigation Links

Use the above links to navigate the Agriculture Section