Irrigation Non-Expansion Areas (INAs)
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.
In the Joseph City and Douglas INAs land that was legally irrigated at any time between January 1, 1975 and January 1,1980 may continue to be irrigated. In the Harquahala INA, the period establishing the right to irrigate is January 6, 1976 to January 6, 1981.
There is one exception. If the Director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources (Department) finds that substantial capital investment was made for on-site irrigation facilities or improvement of land for irrigation use, that land may be irrigated. The investment must have been made during a specified period of time. In the Joseph City and Douglas INAs, the investment must have occurred during the twelve months before June 12, 1980. In the Harquahala INA
any improvement made during the five year period preceding January 6, 1981 is considered.
Landowners in the INAs should be aware of the following requirements of the Groundwater Code.
All persons withdrawing groundwater from non-exempt wells within an INA must use a measuring device and measuring method to record water use, except for: (1) persons who withdraw 10 acre-feet or less for non-irrigation purposes only, and (2) persons who withdraw groundwater for an irrigation use if the Notice of Irrigation Authority for the land on which the groundwater is used includes 10 or fewer contiguous acres and the land is not part of a farming operation that includes more than 10 acres. A non-exempt well has a pump capacity over 35 gallons per minute or irrigates more than two acres.
The Groundwater Code requires that all existing wells be registered with the Department. The filing fee for a Late Registration of a Well is $120.00. Prior to drilling a new well or deepening, replacing or modifying an existing well, a person must file a Notice of Intent to Drill with the Department. The fee for a well located within an INA is $150.00. Forms are available from the Department and must be accompanied with the appropriate filing fee. Authority to modify, deepen, or replace an existing well or drill a new well will be valid for one year; after that a new Notice of Intent must be filed. A driller licensed by the Department must perform the work. Each person who owns a well must notify the Department of any change in ownership of the well.
The Groundwater Code requires that each person withdrawing groundwater from a non-exempt well must file an annual report of groundwater withdrawals by March 31 of each year. Persons who withdraw groundwater for an irrigation use are exempt from the reporting requirements if the Notice of Irrigation Authority for the land on which the groundwater is used includes 10 or fewer contiguous acres and the land is not part of a farming operation that includes more than 10 acres. An annual report must be filed whether groundwater is withdrawn for irrigation or non-irrigation purposes. However, if no water is withdrawn during a particular calendar year, it is not necessary to file an annual report for that year.
The Conservation Site provides information about the conservation requirements and accomplishments in the AMAs, conservation tools available on the Department’s conservation website, conservation assistance programs, and the AMA's Low Water Use plant lists.
Groundwater Users Advisory Council (GUAC)
The Groundwater Code established a five-member, Governor-appointed Groundwater Users Advisory Council for each AMA. Members are appointed to six year terms to represent groundwater users in their respective AMA. Each Council provides advice and recommendations to the AMA Director on the groundwater management programs and policies within the AMA.
Click here to access the GUAC webpage
The Management Plans reflect the evolution of the Groundwater Code, moving Arizona toward its long-term water management goals. A series of five management plans prepared between 1980 and 2025 are to contain progressively more rigorous management requirements for agricultural, municipal and industrial water users. The five management plans cover the following years:
First Management Period 1980 to 1990
Second Management Period 1990 to 2000
Third Management Period 2000 to 2010
Fourth Management Period 2010 to 2020
Fifth Management Period 2020 to 2025
Evaluation of the Management Plans
The evaluation of previous and current Management Plans will assist the Department in the development of the Fourth Management Plan. The Department is currently in the initial stages of formulating the Fourth Management Plan.
Modified Non-Per Capita Conservation Program
The Modified Non-Per Capita Conservation Program (MNPCCP) is a performance-based program that requires participating providers to implement water conservation measures that result in water use efficiency in their service areas. All large municipal providers (cities, towns and private water companies serving more than 250 acre-feet per year) that do not have a Designation of Assured Water Supply (DAWS) and that are not regulated as a large untreated water provider or an institutional provider are required to participate. The MNPCCP became effective in May 2008 and is described in the Second Modification of the Third Management Plan.
Please view the Department's Annual Reporting Site for additional information about filing certain Annual Water Withdrawal and Use Reports for rights located within an AMA and Community Water System Annual Use Reports for rights located outside an AMA.