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Water Management


Conservation information


Conservation Regulations                            Looking for more info? Visit the ADWR Conservation Website

Regulatory Programs

PhxAMA Management Plan

Conservation Assistance 

Low Water Plant List

Ways to save water on landscapes



Phoenix AMA Conservation


Conservation Regulations

Each water use sector in the Active Management Areas must meet mandatory conservation requirements. The general provisions are defined in Arizona statute, while the specific program requirements are included in the 10-year management plans that are developed for each AMA as part of an extensive public process. 

We are currently in the Third Management Plan. TMP covers

The development and implementation of mandatory conservation requirements for all users of groundwater have resulted in increased water savings and efficiency in the Phoenix AMA. 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 current conservation requirements for all users of groundwater within the Phoenix AMA are described in the Third Management Plan and its modifications:

Phoenix AMA Third Management Plan.

Phoenix AMA Third Management Plan - May 2003 modifications.

Phoenix AMA Third Management Plan - April 2008 modifications.  


Regulatory Programs


Municipal sector:

muni sector

The municipal sector in the Phoenix AMA consists primarily of the water utilities of cities, towns, and private water companies. The largest municipal water providers in the Phoenix AMA, by population, are the City of Phoenix, City of Mesa, City of Chandler, City of Glendale, City of Scottsdale, Town of Gilbert, City of Tempe, and City of Peoria.

Large municipal providers who hold a designation of assured water supply (DAWS) may choose to be regulated under the Gallons per Capita per Day (GPCD) program or the Modified Non-per Capita Conservation Program (MNPCCP).  Large providers who are not designated must enter the MNPCCP.  Providers who enrolled in the original NPCCP may choose to remain in it or switch to the MNPCCP.  

All providers are encouraged to reduce their reliance on groundwater by substituting renewable supplies such as surface water when possible.  Providers must also limit their lost and unaccounted for water to not more than ten percent for large providers and fifteen percent for small providers. 



Industrial sector:

This program is aimed at industrial users like turf facilities, dairies/feedlots, mines, electric power plants and sand & gravel operations.  Industrial users are required to implement the most current, commercially available conservation technologies that allow a reasonable economic return.

industrial sector








In addition to conservation requirements for regulated facilities, the industrial sector also oversees water withdrawal and use by all Type 1 and Type 2 Grandfathered rights (58s), all General Industrial Use permits (59s) and Individual Users (62s).



Agriculture sector:

Agricultural users must manage water use within an allotment based on historic cropping patterns, or comply with best management practices. There is also a prohibition on irrigating new land within AMAs.

Ag sector



Assured Water:

The Assured Water Supply Program functions to protect and preserve limited groundwater supplies within Arizona’s five Active Management Areas (AMAs). AMAs are those areas of the state where significant groundwater depletion has occurred and include portions of Maricopa, Pinal, Pima, Santa Cruz and Yavapai County.

Phoenix AWS










Compliance and Enforcement:

The purpose of ADWR's compliance program is to help achieve the goals of the Groundwater Code. The Phoenix AMA monitors compliance with a variety of means, including annual water use reports, satellite imagery and on-site inspections.

Statute allows ADWR to seek civil penalties of up to $10,000 per day. However, few violations are deliberate, and enforcement actions are often structured to help water users meet Code requirements rather than simply collect fines.

East Valley Fissure



Accomplishments of the Phoenix AMA Water Management Plans

The management plans have had the following results in the Phoenix AMA:

  • Cities, towns, water companies, agriculture, and industry in the Phoenix AMA are implementing conservation measures as required.  
  • Regional planning efforts in the western and eastern portions of the Phoenix area have expanded.
  • There has been an increase in the conversion from groundwater (a non-renewable supply) to renewable water supplies (such as SRP and CAP water).
  • 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.
  • Conservation Resources and Assistance


Phoenix AMA Conservation Assistance:

The Phoenix AMA supports non-regulatory conservation primarily through its Water Management Assistance Program and Conservation Outreach. The program is funded through a portion of the groundwater withdrawal fees paid annually by persons withdrawing groundwater from regulated wells in the AMA. This funding, (currently $.50/acre-foot), has been used to support a conservation specialist position within the AMA, as well as conservation project funding, planning assistance, technical support, community outreach and education efforts.  

Since 1992, the Phoenix AMA program has funded more than 90 projects designed to:

  • conserve groundwater
  • augment water supplies, and/or
  • monitor hydrologic conditions and water availability in the AMA.
  • Phoenix AMA Low Water Use Plant List

Summary of Funded Projects 1992 – 2007 

Third Management Plan May 2003 Modifications, Ch. 9, Water Management Assistance Program 

For more information about conservation resources, outreach, and assistance, contact: Ruth Greenhouse, Phoenix AMA Conservation Outreach Coordinator: [email protected].



Low Water Use Plant List

The ADWR Regulatory Plant Lists are used to regulate public medians and rights-of-way in Arizona’s five Active Management Areas (AMAs).

PhxAMA plant list


The Phoenix AMA Low Water Use Plant List was developed with the assistance of the Landscape Technical Committee of the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (AMWUA), comprised of experts from the Desert Botanical Garden, Arizona Department of Transportation, and various municipal, nursery, and landscape specialists in the Phoenix AMA.  Many jurisdictions within the Phoenix AMA have officially adopted the list and have incorporated it into ordinances and design guidelines for development.  The list also serves as a non-regulatory resource for residents. 200 plants from this list are described in more detail in the booklet, “Landscape Plants for Arizona Deserts” developed by AMWUA.



Phoenix AMA Low Water Use Drought Tolerant Plant List

Plant List Application - to request additions or deletions to the plant list

For more information or to submit an application for the Phoenix AMA, contact: Ruth Greenhouse: [email protected].


Additional information on ways to save water in the landscape:


Landscape Plants for Arizona Deserts ONLINE -

An online tool from AMWUA for finding that perfect plant for your yard.

Desert Lawn Care

Having a healthy lawn in the desert is possible - AMWUA brochure

landscape irrigationLandscape Brochures

Xeriscape, Landscaping with Style in the Sonoran Desert

Ch. 1 - Xeriscape Principles

Ch. 2 - Eight Steps to Planning and Designing a Great Yard

Ch. 3 - Your Installation Checklist

Ch. 4 - Xeriscape Maintenance: Healthy Landscapes for Lasting Beauty

Landscape Watering by the Numbers: A Guide for the Arizona Desert

Over half the water used at home is on landscaping.  This includes recommended watering guidelines

One Hundred Ways to Save Water

Water-Use It Wisely program


Visit the ADWR Conservation Website for additional information


Phoenix AMA Navigation Links