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.



FAQs - General

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 requested by contacting the conveyance program at 602-771-8585.

Can I email my application?

There are two ways to submit an application, in person or through a mail service. Original signatures and notarized statements are required. 
Mailing Address: ATTN” AMA Conveyances”
1802 W. Jackson St Box 79 Phoenix, AZ 85007

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 my irrigation right in the middle of the year. Is the buyer or seller responsible for submitting the annual report? 

 The “current owner” is responsible for submitting the report. 

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.

I’m changing ownership of my well. Is an application required? 

Yes. Use form 55-71A.

FAQs - Type 1

If a development plan already exists from the previous owner, do I need to submit a new development plan with my application?

If the planned use of water and the location of use from the previous owner’s development plan was approved and remains consistent, then no new development plan is required. If the planned use or water or the location of use differs from the previous owners then a new development plan must be submitted.

Where can I use Type 1 water?

For the original owner, see Arizona Revised Statute § 45-470 (including the definition for original owner). For subsequent owners, please refer to Arizona Revised Statutes §§ 45-472 and 45-473.

If I am using form 45-469 as the original owner, how can the water be used?

Type 1 water may be used on the land for any non-irrigation use. Please see Arizona Revised Statute § 45-470 for the definition for original owner.

Can I convert my irrigation right to a Type 1?
Yes, but first you must retire the right. If the land has not been retired or if a development plan had not existed at the time of retirement a development plan approval must be submitted. The form to convert IGFR (irrigation grandfathered right) to a Type 1 is 45-469. If your 45-469 application is denied, you may submit a 45-472 form. Please review the Arizona Revised Statutes §§ 45-469 and 45-472 for more provisions.
Can I retire my grandfathered right to a Type 1?

If you are the original owner, a development plan must be submitted and approved by the ADWR Director within 5 years after the land was retired. Please review the provisions in the Arizona Revised Statutes §§ 45-469 and 45-470.

Can I retire my grandfathered right to a new owner if the right is located within the exterior boundaries of a municipal provider’s service area?

Please review the provisions in Arizona Revised Statute § 45-470. For further information, please contact the conveyance team at 602-771-8585.

What if I am a new owner, how can the water be used?

The water can be used on the designated land for any non-irrigation use. Conditions may apply for uses off of the land. Please review Arizona Revised Statutes §§§§ 45-469, 45-470, 45-472, and 45-473. For more information, please contact the conveyance team at 602-771-8585.

How do I determine if I am within or beyond an exterior service area boundary?

Please contact the conveyance team at 602-771-8585.

FAQs - Type 2

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?

An original certificate is only required when submitting a 58-700 form. A Type 2 right is not tied to the land; the certificate is the only way to determine ownership. 
*If the original certificate is lost, a notarized statement indicating that it is lost can be submitted.

Is there an additional fee for a well change of ownership, when submitting a 58-500 form?

No additional fee is required. Submit the conveyance application and add new well numbers to the application in the designated fields.  

Do I need to submit a fee for my “Notification of Lease of a Type 2 Non-irrigation Grandfathered Right” form?

A fee of $250.00 is only required when adding a point of withdrawal.

Do I have to submit an additional fee to my 58-700 form when adding a well?
Yes. In addition to the $500 filing fee, there will be a $250 fee for a change in point of withdrawal. The new total would be $750.00


Reference Number
60-500 60-500 Notification of Change of Ownership of an Irrigation Authority $500
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
58-600 58-600 Notification of Change of Ownership of a Type 1 Non-Irrigation Grandfathered Right $500
58-500 58-500 Notification of Change of Ownership of an Irrigation Grandfathered Right $500
476-01 476-01 Late application for irrigation right $100
472 472 Application to Convey an Irrigation Grandfathered Right for a Non-Irrigation (Type 1) Use $500
469 469 Application to Retire an Irrigation GFR for a Non-Irrigation (Type 1) Use $1,000
45-437 (Joseph City INA) Form 45-437 Joseph City INA $1,000
45-437 (Harquahaula INA) Form 45-437 Harquahaula INA $1,000
Notification of Lease of a Type 2 Non-irrigation Grandfathered Right N/A
Application to Substitute Irrigation Acres Due to Limiting Conditions in an AMA $1,000
Application to Substitute Irrigable Acres Due to Limiting Conditions in an Irrigation Non-Expansion Area $1,000
Application for Substitution Flood Damages Acres within an AMA $1,000
Application for Development Plan Approval (Type 1) $500