The 1980 Groundwater Code established the Active Management Areas (AMAs) and Irrigation Non-Expansion Areas (INAs) in Arizona thereby creating groundwater rights. In an AMA, a person who was legally withdrawing and using groundwater as of the date of the designation of the AMA or who owns land legally entitled to be irrigated with groundwater has the right to withdraw of receive and use groundwater as determined by the ADWR Director  pursuant to A.R.S. 45-462.

To assist with filling out the change of ownership applications, below is a list of helpful links:

For more information regarding groundwater rights and change of ownership applications, review Title 45, Chapter 2, Article 5, of the statute, view the Frequently Asked Questions below, or contact the Active Management Areas at (602)-771-8585.




Do I Need Original Signatures On The Application?

Yes, this is to prevent forgery and to ensure that all signatures are official. If an application does not have an original signature it will be returned to the sender.

Can I Convey A Right That Is Under 10 Acre Feet?
  1. An application to convey an exempt small right can be submitted, but a certificate will not be mailed. Annual reporting is not required. 

  2. If the right is filed concurrently with an extinguishment application it can also be conveyed.

  3. A part of a larger farming unit.

What is an exempt small right?

An exempt small right is an Irrigation Grandfathered Right that is 10 Irrigated Acres or less, it is not part of an integrated farming operation and may not withdraw groundwater for use on a Type 1 Non-Irrigation grandfathered right or another Irrigation Grandfathered Right with more than 10 irrigated acres. Annual reporting is not required.

What signatures are required for Type 1 Retirement, Type 1 and IGFR Extinguishments, and conveyance?

Every person listed on the certificate and the deed must sign the application form. If the certificate shows the name of a trust, all beneficiaries to the trust and trustee must sign.

I have lost my original groundwater right certificate, how can I receive another one?

A copy of the original certificate can be found on ADWR’s Imaged Records page, along with all documentation pertaining to the right. An official original certificate can be sent, but a new application must be submitted along with the $500 fee and a new groundwater right extension will be given

Can I email my application?

No, all applications must be mailed to the Department because we need original signatures and notarized statements.

I’m submitting a Type 2 Change of Ownership application, but the land is going to be sold again shortly. How should I proceed with submitting my application?
  1. If you are selling a Type 2 Non-Irrigation Water Right and you know the right will be sold again in the near future you should submit both applications together. Both applications can use the same current right number as long as they are submitted together. Each application will cost $500 for a total of $1,000. For example: 

    1. Application 1 right number 58-XXXXXX.0001: Company A to Company B  

    2. Application 2 right number 58-XXXXXX.0001: Company B to Company C

Do I need to submit an original certificate?

Only Type 2 Non-Irrigation conveyances require an original certificate. Since these rights are not tied to the land the certificate is the only way to determine ownership. If the original certificate is lost, a notarized statement indicating the original certificate has been lost can be submitted.

Do I have to pay for the change of well ownership form if I’m submitting a conveyance application?

The $500 fee for a conveyance covers any change of well ownership applications if they are submitted together.

How much is a Type 2 Non-Irrigation conveyance if I am adding a change in point of withdrawal?
  1. In addition to the $500 filing fee adding a change in point of withdrawal is $250 totalling $750

  2. Type 2 lease does not need payment unless it is filed alongside a point of withdrawal thus the fee will be $250.

  3. Type 2 wells do not transfer over with a full conveyance, if you are keeping wells they should be listed on the application. (45-482)

Can I convert my Type 1 Non-Irrigation Right back to an IGFR
  1. A Type 1 can only be converted back to an IGFR if the land has been completely cleared of any development and can be irrigated again.
  2. Pursuant to 45-469 Subsection O, 1 - 5
If I purchase a groundwater right do I automatically own the wells associated with it?

No, well ownership is decided between the seller and buyer.

I bought/sold my right in the middle of the year, who is responsible for filing the annual report?

The responsible party is the owner of the right as of December of the year being reported (e.g., owner as of December 2016 will submit the report for 2016 water use).

How can I find information for water rights outside an AMA

Groundwater Rights are located inside Active Management Areas and Irrigation Non-Expansion Areas. If you are seeking information concerning water rights outside of these areas contact either Surface water at 602-711-8621, Adjudications at 602-771-8621 or your local water provider. To determine if you are inside of an AMA or INA, you can view a map here 

What is the difference between a well permit and a water right/permit

A well number (55-) is a registration number given to the well so that ADWR can easily identify the ownership, location, pump capacity, and nature of use, among other characteristics. A water right or permit (56-, 57-, 58-, 59-, 74-)authorizes the user to withdraw water from a non-exempt well (those pumping over 35 gallons per minute) legally in an Active Management Area or Irrigation Non-Expansion Area.  Withdrawals from non-exempt wells generally must be associated with the appropriate type of groundwater right or withdrawal authority. Pumpage from non-exempt wells must be reported annually.

Who is responsible for submitting the Change of Ownership application?

The buyer is responsible for submitting all change of Ownership forms

What is Non-Appurtenant Land?

Non-appurtenant land is land within the property lines of a property that has been issued an Irrigation Grandfathered Right, which was not irrigated between the years of 1975-1980. This land is not legally allowed to be irrigated.




Reference Form Name Filing Fee Application Instructions
60-500 60-500 Notification of Change of Ownership of an Irrigation Authority $500 Open File
58-700 58-700 Notification of Change of Ownership and/or Change in Point of Withdrawal for a Type 2 Non-Irrigation Grandfathered Right $500 and/or $250 Open File
58-600 58-600 Notification of Change of Ownership of a Type 1 Non-Irrigation Grandfathered Right $500 Open File
58-500 58-500 Notification of Change of Ownership of an Irrigation Grandfathered Right $500 Open File
472 472 Application to Convey an Irrigation Grandfathered Right for a Non-Irrigation (Type 1) Use $500 Open File Instructions
469 469 Application to Retire an Irrigation GFR for a Non-Irrigation (Type 1) Use $1,000 Open File Instructions
45-437 (Joseph City INA) Form 45-437 Joseph City INA $1,000 Open File
45-437 (Harquahaula INA) Form 45-437 Harquahaula INA $1,000 Open File
Notification of Lease of a Type 2 Non-irrigation Grandfathered Right N/A Open File
Application to Substitute Irrigation Acres Due to Limiting Conditions in an AMA $1,000 Open File Instructions
Application to Substitute Irrigable Acres Due to Limiting Conditions in an Irrigation Non-Expansion Area $1,000 Open File Instructions
Application for Substitution Flood Damages Acres within an AMA $1,000 Open File Instructions
Application for Development Plan Approval (Type 1) $500 Open File