Water Planners & Providers

Arizona is one of the fastest growing states in the country, yet continues to face the uncertainty of drought. The Arizona Department of Water Resources takes an integrated approach to drought planning and water conservation by combining regulations, assistance, outreach and education. The following information is designed to help community planners, water providers and others responsible for managing Arizona's water supplies.

Many water providers in the state are required to conserve water and all water providers are encouraged to conserve water.


The level of regulation for water providers differs and is based on the size and location of the system.

Inside AMAs

Providers located inside Arizona’s Active Management Areas (AMAs) are subject to regulatory requirements dictated by the Arizona Groundwater Code, including mandatory conservation requirements established in the Management Plans.

Requirements for municipal providers apply to those that serve more than 250 acre-feet of water per year for non-irrigation purposes. All providers are also required to submit an annual report pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 632, and a system water plan that consists of a water supply plan, conservation plan, and drought plan (A.R.S. § 45-342). 

ADWR’s Active Management Area webpage offers more information.

Outside AMAs

Providers located outside AMAs are required to submit a system water plan (SWP) and an annual water-use report pursuant to A.R.S. §§ 45-342 and 343. There are no mandatory conservation requirements to systems outside AMAs. However, they are required to submit a conservation plan as part of their SWP, where they identify the conservation practices implement within their service areas. These requirements are applicable to community water systems, which are systems that serve 15 or more connections or 25 year-round residents.

ADWR’s Community Water System web page offers more information.

Other Regulatory Agencies

Other state agencies also regulate water providers. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and Arizona Corporation Commission websites offer more information. Counties, cities and towns may also have local regulations. 

Conservation Planning Information

This section provides a summary of water conservation efforts in Arizona’s AMAs, guidelines on how to develop a Conservation Plan and System/Provider Profile, and information on how to get started with a water efficiency program.

Summaries of Conservation Programs in Arizona

  • 2010 Summary of Municipal Conservation Programs in Arizona: Introductionand Summary
    This summary is intended to serve as a resource for municipal water providers and other organizations wishing to begin or expand their water conservation programs. It also serves as an ongoing record of the water conservation accomplishments achieved by Arizona municipal providers.

  • A Summary of Conservation Programs in Arizona’s Active Management Areas is a compilation of information from cities, towns, private water companies and water-improvement districts that summarizes water conservation activities implemented within Arizona's Active Management Areas.

developing Water conservation plans

Water-conservation plans and system profiles assist water providers in assessing their present circumstances and design strategies to meet emerging needs.  

  • Guidelines for Preparing Water Conservation Plans describes the water-conservation measures that water utilities can use to design water-conservation programs. As part of their conservation plans, planners should consider, at a minimum, each of the measures specified in the Basic, Intermediate or Advanced Guidelines, depending on which set of Guidelines apply to the water system. Chapter 3 assists water providers in developing a system profile by taking inventory of existing resources and conditions (see Worksheet 3-1, page 47).

  • Drought & Conservation- How Do They Work Together fact sheet assists Arizona's Community Water Systems in developing drought preparedness and conservation plans.

  • Using Water Efficiently - Ideas for Communities - EPA fact sheet provides tips on how to get started developing a water-efficiency program, system improvements, equipment changes and policies and programs to encourage the efficient use of water. 

  • Matching Service Area Characteristics with BMPs is a metrix designed to assist providers in choosing water conservation measures that best fit their service area needs.


This section is designed to assist water resource planners and providers in establishing and implementing effective water conservation strategies. It provides information on water-waste ordinances, rate structures, water metering, leak-detection presentations and more. 

Get Started with Basic Water Conservation Education: Tips for Water Providers: Customers who receive conservation education are more likely to reduce their water use and support their water provider’s conservation efforts. This fact sheet describes activities and examples of ways to inform customers about the importance of efficient water use and provide them with free water conservation materials. For more information on conservation education see Conservation Communication Tips (by Donna DiFrancesco, City of Mesa) and Conservation Resources- Selection, Sources, Distribution (by Carol Ward-Morris, Arizona Municipal Water Users Association) 

Developing Ordinances to Prohibit Water Waste from Irrigated Landscapes: In Arizona, a significant portion of outdoor water use is applied to the landscape. These guidelines provide examples of the kind of information needed to develop an ordinance that prohibits water waste from landscape irrigation, also referred to as "fugitive irrigation" water. Information regarding other sources of outdoor water waste is also provided. 

Developing Conservation-based Water Rate Structures for Communities: Water rates play an important role in communicating the value of water to customers. Planning water rates accordingly helps to promote long-term water-use efficiency. These guidelines outline different types of conservation-based water rate structures and give examples and benefits of each.

ADWR Provider Profile Template: This template assist providers in completing a provider profile, which can help in assessing a provider's present situation and design strategies to meet emerging needs. A Provider Profile is required of providers regulated under ADWR's Modified Non-Per Capita Conservation Program.

WaterSense: A partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. WaterSenseWith the help of many water partners, WaterSense encourages water-efficient behaviors and the purchase of quality products that use less water. You can too become a WaterSense Partner! Explore the WaterSense website to find a water-efficient product and discover all of the great ways this program supports water conservation efforts in Arizona.