Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions:

What is an AMA?

Active Management Areas, or AMAs, are groundwater basins within the state that are subject to certain statutory and administrative regulations regarding the withdrawal and use of groundwater, or in the case of the Santa Cruz AMA, the withdrawal and use of any water, other than stored water, withdrawn from a well.

For more general information about AMAs, please see our AMAs 101 Fact Sheet. 

How much is an acre-foot of water?

An acre-foot of water is 325,851 gallons. One acre-foot of water will supply the needs of approximately two average families per year.

Why am I receiving notices for a water right I do not own?

It is likely you are receiving these notices because the Department was never notified to update our records. The proper change-of-ownership form, along with a fee, need to be submitted to the Department for our records to be updated. You can find the change of ownership forms here.

What is the difference between a well number 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.

How can I figure out if I am located inside of an Active Management Area or Irrigation Non-Expansion Area?

You can view a map of the Active Management Areas and Irrigation Non-Expansion Areas here.

How can I obtain information about my groundwater right?

ADWR's imaged record database contains documents such as copies of certificates, past annual reports, notices of violation, and conservation requirements.

What is my flex account balance for my irrigation water right?

You can look up your irrigation right's flex account balance with this tool. Or, you can view the flex account balances of other irrigation rights in the same irrigation district with this tool.

How can I obtain a water right?

Irrigation rights and Type 1 non-irrigation rights are tied to the land; therefore they can only be obtained by purchasing land appurtenant to those water rights.  Type 2 non-irrigation water rights are not tied to the land, but are considered personal property, and therefore can be bought and sold for use anywhere in the same AMA in which they were granted.  A Type 2 may be either purchased in its entirety or can be leased in part or whole. Some Type 2 rights are limited to use for electrical power generation or mineral extraction; most Type 2 rights may be used for any non-irrigation purpose. You can view a list of Type 2 rights by AMA here. The Department also can issue permits to withdraw groundwater for various purposes. Permits are not perpetual rights to withdraw but expire on the date indicated on the issued permit.

Who should I contact about the water quality in my area?

You should contact the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's Water Quality Division. You can reach ADEQ at (602) 771-4827 or visit the agency website.

Who should I contact with complaints about my water provider?

If your water provider is a city or town, your best option is to contact an official from that city or town.  If your water provider is a utility company, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) has regulatory power over the provider under certain circumstances. You can contact the ACC Water Utility Division at (602) 542-4251 or submit a complaint online. If your water provider is a domestic water improvement district (DWID), you will want to contact a county supervisor.


Annual Reporting:

How do I report my water use?

Visit our Annual Reporting page for a link to report your water use online or print out the forms. You will also find other helpful documents on annual reporting there.

Do I need to submit a report even if I did not use any water?

If you are located in an Active Management Area (AMA), yes. Even if zero water was used pursuant to your right, it still needs to be reported. If you are located in an Irrigation Non-Expansion Area (INA), you are not required to file a Zero-Use Water Report in a year in which you didn't use any water, but it is highly recommended to help improve water management data in your area. 

I am no longer farming my land. Why am I receiving notices to report on my Irrigation Right?

If the land you were farming has been developed, you can notify the Department and we will change the status of the right so you do not have to report. If you are not farming the land, but it has not been developed, you still need to file a zero-use report.

I sold/bought my water right in the middle of the year. Am I responsible for reporting the water use?

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

How do I figure out my water usage for the year?

If you own and operate a well with an associated water right, you will need to submit a well worksheet, which guides you through the information you will need to calculate the amount of water withdrawn from the well. You can find the different types of well worksheets here.  If you are unfamiliar with water meters, you can find a guide on how to read your meter here. If you do not pump water from a well, but receive it from a water provider or irrigation district, you can contact your provider to get your annual usage. This tool allows you to search the contact information of water providers. Municipal provider numbers start with 56-; Irrigation districts start with 57-.

How can I check if my report has been submitted?