An Industrial Water User is any person who withdraws groundwater for a non-irrigation use pursuant to a Type 1 or Type 2 non-irrigation grandfathered right or GIU (General Industrial Use) permit. An industrial user may receive groundwater from an irrigation district. However, an industrial user may not receive groundwater from an irrigation district in excess of the amount it was entitled to receive on June 12, 1980, unless it has obtained a GFR or a GIU permit. (A.R.S. § 45-497(B) and 45-515). Industrial use also includes animal industry use and expanded animal industry use such as dairies and cattle feedlots. Industrial Users served by municipal providers may be categorized as Individual Users, and in those cases, the municipal provider is responsible for complying with the individual user conservation requirements. 

Industrial Water Users are subject to general conservation requirements that apply to all industrial users, including avoiding waste and single-pass cooling, using low-flow plumbing fixtures, and using low water use plants for landscaping. Industrial Water Users may also be subject to specific sub-sector requirements. There are nine different Industrial Subsectors. For data related to the industrial program, please visit the Industrial Data Dashboard on the AMA Data Page.

Industrial Subsectors

Turf-Related Facilities (≥ 10 acres)

These facilities are the largest industrial water users in the AMAs. There are five different types of Turf-Related Facilities which include golf courses, parks and recreational facilities, school grounds, and cemeteries. These industries use a major portion of their total water demand for growth and maintenance of turf and other landscaping plants. Turf facilities are given maximum annual water allotments based on the size and age of the facility. Application rates and limits used in calculating allotments vary slightly among the AMAs. There are also incentives for facilities to use effluent for landscape watering. For more information, please go to Chapter 6 of the 4th Management Plans for each AMA. Additional discussions regarding this program have taken place in the development of the 5th Management Plans. See the Turf section of the 5MPs Concepts page and the draft 5th Management Plans Allotment Calculator for Turf-Related Facilities for more information. 

Sand & Gravel Facilities (> 100 AF/year)

Water is used primarily for washing sand and gravel. This sector also uses water for dust control, in ready-mix concrete, brick, asphalt and other products, and in concrete curing and clean-up activities. Sand & Gravel Facilities must: 

  • Construct disposal ponds or install clarifiers to collect and reuse water runoff, &
  • Implement measures to reduce water used for dust control and equipment cleaning.

Metal Mining Facilities (> 500 AF/year)

ADWR regulates mining facilities that mine and process ores and use or have the potential to use more than 500 AF of water per year. Metal Mining Facilities are required to; 

  • Minimize amount of water used in tailings transport (48%-50% or greater solids),
  • Maximize tailings water reuse & minimize evaporation & 
  • Minimize water use for dust control.

Large Scale Power Plants (> 25 MW)

Two types of electric power plants are regulated: steam electrical plants and combustion turbine plants. Steam electrical plants use cooling towers to dissipate excess heat that builds up in the steam electrical generation process. Rather than using steam to drive a turbine, combustion turbines use compressed air. Large Scale Power Plans must achieve a specified number of “cycles of concentration,” a measure of the degree to which cooling water is recycled, before “blowing down” used water. Pre-1985 steam facilities must achieve 7 or more cycles, and post-1984 steam facilities 15 or more cycles. Combustion turbine facilities must achieve a cycle of concentration level based on blowdown water quality. 

Large Scale Cooling Facilities (≥ 1,000 tons) 

Cooling towers cool water that has absorbed the heat load of a heat-generating process. Cooling towers are present at a variety of commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities. Like the power plant requirement, LSCT must meet either a specified concentration of:

– silica (120 mg/L) or

– total hardness (1,200 mg/L)

before “blowing down” used water and adding clean or “make-up” water.

Dairy Operations (monthly avg ≥ 100 lactating cows/day)

Most water use at dairy operations occurs for animal drinking needs, udder washing, barn cleanup, and animal cooling. Maximum allotments are based on water use needs per cow in the base program and are as follows:

– 105 Gallons per animal per day (GAD) for lactating animals and 20 GAD for non-lactating animals.

Cattle Feedlots Operations (monthly avg ≥ 100 cattle/year)

Water is primarily used for animal drinking and dust control. Maximum annual allotments are based on water use needs per head of cattle. Operations receive 30 GAD per head of cattle for drinking, dust control requirements and other uses such as feed prep.

 New Large Landscape Users (> 10,000 sq ft of water-intensive landscape)

  • are non-residential facilities that have a water-intensive landscaped area in excess of 10,000 sq ft that was planted after January 1, 1990. If NOT a hotel, the user must limit water-intensive landscape to 20% of the area in excess of 10,000 sq feet. Effluent and wastewater incentives exist.

New Large Industrial Users (> 100 AF/year)

  • are industrial users that begin using more than 100 AF of water/year for industrial purposes after Jan 1, 2000. New Large Industrial Users shall submit to the ADWR a plan to improve the efficiency of water use by the facility.

Did you know? 

  • Industrial sector demand has increased more than 100% from 1985 to 2017. 
  • Industrial use is largely dependent on population growth and the economy with the total Industrial demand peaking in 2019.
  • In the Phoenix AMA, electric power and turf sub-sectors have remained the largest users of water in the industrial sector, comprising about 80 percent of total industrial demand.
  • In all projected scenarios in the 4MP, groundwater remains the primary water supply for the industrial sector.
  • In 1985, groundwater was 78 percent of the industrial sector supply in the Phoenix AMA. In 2017, treated effluent made up 45 percent of the industrial supply and groundwater accounted for only 49 percent of industrial supply.
Industrial Conservation requirements:
  • Avoid waste, make diligent efforts to reuse and recycle water.
  •  Avoid single pass cooling or heating unless water is used.
  •  Use low flow plumbing fixtures.
  • Use low water plants where feasible and efficient irrigation systems.

Purpose: Move the industrial users within the AMAs to the greatest level of efficiency attainable given use of the latest commercially available conservation technology consistent with reasonable economic return.

Funding Opportunities

Arizona Office of Tourism: Arizona Legacy Golf Course Revitalization Grant - AOT seeks to provide assistance to older (pre-1986) 18-hole golf courses over 90 acres to implement infrastructure updates that modernize the courses and make them more sustainable. 

Bureau of Reclamation: WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants - BOR seeks to provide 50/50 cost-share funding to irrigation and water districts, tribes, states and other entities with water or power delivery authority.

For more information regarding funding resources, please review the Water Management Assistance Program page


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.

What is my annual water allotment for my golf course based on?

The water allotment is the maximum amount of water you can pump and/or receive each year. It is calculated based on turfed acreage, low-water-use landscape areas, water surface area, age of facility, and amount of holes, etc. 

Can you use a Non-Irrigation Grandfathered Right to water containerized plants?

Yes, you can use both a Non-Irrigation Grandfathered Right and an Irrigation Grandfathered right to water containerized plants.

Can I convert my Irrigation Grandfathered Right to a non-irrigation use Type 1 right?

Yes, if the conditions described in the Retirement of and Irrigation to a Type 1 Right and Development Plan Application are met. While it is possible to retire an Irrigation Right to a Type 1, once that change is made it is irreversible and can’t ever be converted back to an Irrigation Right.