Phoenix Active Management Area Overview
Active Management Areas
In 1980, in response to legal challenges, funding threats to the Central Arizona Project and the problems associated with severe groundwater overdraft, the Arizona Legislature passed the landmark Groundwater Management Act. The Legislature embodied its intent in the Declaration of Policy:
“...it is necessary to conserve, protect and allocate the use of groundwater resources of the state and to provide a framework for the comprehensive management and regulation of the withdrawal, transportation, use, conservation and conveyance of rights to use the groundwater in this state.” §45-401(B).
The Act created the Arizona Department of Water Resources, ensured completion of the CAP, and established Active Management Areas with long-term management goals. Within AMAs, rights were established, wells are regulated, and the municipal, industrial and agricultural sectors are subject to mandatory conservation programs that are established in Management Plans adopted every ten years. Since 1980, the basic framework of the Act has been built upon to include provisions for recharge and recovery, assured water supply, water banking and groundwater replenishment.
Phoenix AMA Description
The Phoenix AMA is located in central Arizona and is one of the five Active Management Areas (AMA) mandated by the Groundwater Code. The Phoenix AMA covers 5,646 square miles and consists of seven groundwater basins:
The AMA is in the basin and range physiographic province. Elevations range from less than 800 feet above mean sea level (msl) at Gillespie Dam to over 6,000 feet above msl in the Superstition Mountains in the eastern portion of the AMA.
The AMA is characterized by a diverse mix of water uses, with a heavy and increasing emphasis on municipal and industrial uses.
Irrigation Non-Expansion Area (INA)
The 1980 Groundwater Management Act established two Irrigation Non-Expansion Areas (INAs) - the Joseph City INA and the Douglas INA. Since the law was passed, the Harquahala area has also been designated an INA. When an area is designated as an INA, a restriction is placed on increasing the number of irrigated acres in the area.
An INA is a geographical area that has been designated as having insufficient groundwater to provide a reasonably safe supply for the irrigation of the cultivated lands at the current rate of withdrawal. Within INAs, new agricultural use of land occurring on land that was not irrigated in the five years preceding the designation of the INA is prohibited with a few exceptions for substitution or transfer of acres under specified circumstances.
Phoenix AMA Navigation Links