Frequently Asked Questions

 

How Do I know if i need a certificate of assured water supply?

An assured water supply determination is required in order to obtain a public report from the Arizona Department of Real Estate to sell or lease (for more than one year) lots within a subdivision that are located within an Active Management Area (AMA). The assured water supply requirement can be met with a written commitment of service from a water provider designated as having an assured supply, or by obtaining a Certificate of Assured Water Supply. 

What is a subdivision?

The Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) relies on the statutory definition of "subdivision" set forth in A.R.S. 32-2101(56)

What is the difference between assured water supply and adequate water supply?

Assured water supply requirements apply inside the AMAs. Adequate water supply requirements, meanwhile, apply outside the AMAs.  The Adequate Water Supply Program serves primarily as a consumer advisory measure to inform home buyers about the adequacy or inadequacy of the water supply.  Inside the AMAs, the Assured Water Supply program requires developers to demonstrate an assured water supply prior to selling lots.  The Assured Water Supply requirements are designed to protect and preserve groundwater supplies in the AMAs as well as to ensure sufficient water supplies for new development.

To obtain an adequate water supply determination, the water supply must meet the following requirements: (1) the water supply must be physically available; (2) the water supply must be continuously available; (3) the water supply must be legally available; (4) financial capability to construct the water delivery system and any storage or treatment works must be demonstrated; and (5) the water supply must meet applicable water quality standards.  Outside of the AMAs, developers can sell lots to homebuyers with an inadequacy determination from the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR), unless the subdivision is located in a mandatory adequacy jurisdiction.

Inside the AMAs, where the Assured Water Supply requirement applies, the above five requirements must be met in addition to the following two: (1) groundwater use must be consistent with the management plan for the AMA; and (2) groundwater use must be consistent with the management goal of the AMA. 

how do i know if i'm in an ama or not?

You may contact the Office of Assured and Adequate Water Supply at (602) 771-8599. Please provide the legal description (township, range and section) for the land you propose to subdivide. ADWR staff can tell you which program, Assured or Adequate Water Supply, applies to your subdivision. 

what is the difference between a certificate and a designation of assured water supply?

A Designation of Assured Water Supply is issued to a water provider for its service area located within an AMA. A Certificate of Assured Water Supply is issued to landowners for a subdivision located within an AMA. If your subdivision will be served by a water provider that is designated as having an assured water supply, you will not need a Certificate of Assured Water Supply. You may view the current list of Designated Providers (10-28-2023) here. However, if your subdivision will receive water from a water provider that is not designated as having an assured water supply, then you will need a Certificate of Assured Water Supply for the subdivision.

why would a water provider choose to obtain a designation of assured water supply?

A water provider may obtain a Designation of Assured Water Supply to facilitate development within its service area. A subdivision that will be served by a designated water provider does not require a Certificate of Assured Water Supply.

why would i want to obtain an analysis of assured supply?

An Analysis of Assured Water Supply (Analysis) is not required. The owner of a master-planned community that will be developed in phases may choose to demonstrate that one or more assured water supply requirements* are met for the entire development. A Certificate of Assured Water Supply (Certificate) is still required for each phase (subdivision) of the master-planned community. However, the Certificate applicant may rely in part on the Analysis to demonstrate that the requirement is met, subject to certain conditions. If the Department issues an Analysis including a determination of physical availability of groundwater, the subsequent AWS applicants must incorporate the demand associated with that Analysis during the term of the Analysis when demonstrating the physical availability of groundwater. If there is an Analysis applicable to your subdivision, you should reference the name and the file number of the Analysis when you apply for your Certificate of Assured Water Supply. Most commonly, Analyses are issued for physical availability of groundwater supplies.

*As described in Arizona Administrative Code R12-15-703, ADWR will issue an Analysis if the applicant demonstrates one or more of the following assured water supply requirements:

  • Physical availability, A.A.C. R12-15-716
  • Continuous availability, A.A.C. R12-15-717
  • Legal availability, A.A.C. R12-15-718
  • Water quality, A.A.C. R12-15-719
  • Consistency with the management goal for the AMA, A.A.C. R12-15-722
  • Consistency with the management plan for the AMA, A.A.C. R12-15-721
What is a physical availability Determination?

A Physical Availability Determination (PAD) evaluates the physical availability of water for an area. Subsequent applications for assured or adequate water supply determinations, such as an analysis or certificate, may rely on the PAD to demonstrate the physical availability of water, under certain conditions. A water provider that is not designated as having an assured water supply may have a PAD for their service area. Check with the water provider for the subdivision to see if there is a PAD on file with ADWR. If so, reference the name and the file number for the PAD on your application for an assured or adequate water supply determination. 

Does a physical availability determination reserve water for a particular development?

No. A PAD is an evaluation of the hydrologic conditions for a local region, usually for the service area of a water provider. An applicant for a determination of assured or adequate water supply within the area may rely on the PAD to demonstrate physical availability, under certain conditions. 

what are extinguishment credits?

Extinguishment credits are generated when a grandfathered groundwater right is extinguished by the right holder.  The extinguished right can never be used again. However, the credits generated may be pledged to a Certificate of Assured Water Supply or Designation of Assured Water Supply to meet the "consistency with management goal" requirement for groundwater supplies included in a Certificate or Designation of Assured Water supply.

How do I enroll lands in the central Arizona groundwater replenishment district (CAGRD)?

An application for CAGRD enrollment can be obtained from the CAGRD website. Applications that rely on Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRD) enrollment are not issued until the CAGRD enrollment is completed.

how long will it take to get my certificate of assured water supply?

The time it takes to obtain a Certificate of Assured Water Supply depends on the completeness and complexity of the application. Pursuant to A.A.C. R12-15-401, ADWR has up to 210 days to process an application for a Certificate of Assured Water Supply, not including the time it takes the applicant to supply missing information or correct erroneous items. Incomplete or incorrect applications take longer to process.

How do i calculate water demand for my development?

Applicants may use ADWR's Demand Calculator to calculate the estimated annual water demand. The Demand Calculator is based on the current management plan for each AMA, as well as U.S. Census data and water use records. For demands that you are not sure how to calculate, or if you have questions about the Demand Calculator, contact the Office of Assured and Adequate Water Supply.

do certificates of assured water supply automatically transfer to a new owner?

No. A certificate is only applicable to a Certificate Holder. A.A.C. R12-15-701(21) defines 'Certificate Holder' as any person included on a certificate, except any person who no longer owns any portion of the property included in the certificate and any potential purchaser for whom the purchase contract has been terminated or has expired. 

A.A.C. R12-15-705 and A.A.C. R12-15-706 set forth the criteria for assignment of a Certificate of Assured Water Supply. A.A.C. R12-15-704(G) provides the criteria for obtaining a new certificate if the subdivision does not meet the requirements for an assignment. Additionally, A.A.C. R12-15-704(J)-(L) identify circumstances in which a new certificate may no longer be required. 

what if my plat changes after I apply for a certificate of assured water supply?

A Certificate of Assured Water Supply (Certificate) or water report is applicable to the original plat for which the Certificate or water report was issued, as well as to a revised plat, unless the plat changes are material according to A.A.C. R12-15-708 subsections (C) and (D). You may apply for a review of a revised plat to determine if plat changes are material (See: Forms and Applications page).

what if i sell some of my lots to a builder after i obtain a certificate of assured water supply?

Only a Certificate Holder (i.e., someone identified on the Certificate of Assured Water Supply) may rely on a Certificate. Frequently, after ADWR issues a Certificate, the Certificate Holder will sell lots to one or more home builders. A potential buyer may be listed as a Certificate Holder (along with the landowner) by submitting a purchase agreement with the application for the Certificate of Assured Water Supply [see A.A.C. R12-15-704(B)(1)(b)]. If the entity that will ultimately be selling the lots to the home buyers is listed on the Certificate of Assured Water Supply as a buyer, no additional Certificate of Assured Water Supply is needed.

If the purchaser was not listed on the Certificate as a Certificate Holder, A.A.C. R12-15-705 and A.A.C. R12-15-706 set forth the criteria for assignment of a Certificate of Assured Water Supply. A.A.C. R12-15-704(G) provides the criteria for obtaining a new Certificate if the subdivision does not meet the requirements for an assignment. Additionally, 704(J)-(L) identify circumstances in which a new Certificate may no longer be required. 

How do i know if i have to submit a hydrologic study with my application for a certificate of assured water supply or for a water report?

Every application for a Certificate of Assured Water Supply must demonstrate that the water supply will be physically available for 100 years. The criteria for demonstrating physical availability are set forth in A.A.C. R12-15-716(B). For groundwater supplies, a hydrologic study is required, unless the applicant is relying on an issued determination of physical availability, such as a Physical Availability Determination (PAD) or an Analysis of Assured Water Supply (Analysis of AWS). 

A PAD is a determination of physical availability applicable to a large local area. The water provider for your subdivision may have already obtained a PAD. Contact the water provider to find out if there is a PAD on file with ADWR. If so, reference the PAD number on your application. If your subdivision is part of a master-planned community, ADWR may have issued an Analysis for the development. Contact the entity that prepared the subdivision master plan to find out if there is an Analysis, and whether the Analysis included a demonstration of physical availability. 

Alternatively, you may contact the office of Assured and Adequate Water Supply to find out if there is a PAD or Analysis of AWS applicable to your subdivision. If you submit a new hydrologic study with your Certificate application, please see the Guidelines for Hydrologic Studies for Assured and Adequate Water Supplies