Interactive tool for searching groundwater-rights information now live on ADWR website

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Interactive tool for searching groundwater-rights information now live on ADWR website
March 14, 2019

The latest interactive tool added to the Arizona Department of Water Resources web site – the Grandfathered Right Web Map system – is now up and running.

The “GFR” system, as it is known, is an interactive map intended for use by owners and lessees of irrigation grandfathered groundwater rights and of “Type 1” non-irrigation GFRs.

(A “Type 1” right is one that is associated with land that is permanently retired from farming and is converted to a non-irrigation use.)

As illustrated in a January 4 Arizona Water News feature on the new system, the GFR Web Map features an “interactive” search map that, for the first time, allows the public to conveniently access geographical and other data about their groundwater rights.

As reported early this year, the system was conceived and designed by the Department’s Active Management Area (AMA) section with the assistance of ADWR’s IT specialists.

The map is designed to assist the holders of groundwater rights – an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 landowners – with information regarding the location and boundaries of their groundwater rights, as well as a wealth of other data, including image information and aerial views, the number of acres included in each right and the annual allotment of each right.

The system provides layers of maps that allow a viewer to determine how a parcel of land lines up with groundwater rights, as well as to determine which rights -- or how many rights -- are within a given sub-basin.

The system was designed with the intent of providing a way to determine if a parcel of land has a grandfathered right appurtenant to it – an important consideration when attempting to accurately determine the extent of a property’s rights to groundwater.

ADWR’s map designers anticipate that the map also should prove useful to buyers and sellers of land within an AMA, among other potential users. 

The map shows the boundaries of all active GFRs, as well as the type of each GFR (for example, whether the GFR is for irrigation or non-irrigation). It also will indicate if a GFR has been extinguished and/or developed.

In addition to providing detailed information to those holding groundwater rights, the map should prove of value to water providers and irrigation districts – indeed, any entity seeking information about groundwater rights within its service area.

ADWR’s Active Management Area section regularly fields questions about the boundaries of groundwater rights. Until now, someone seeking information would have to wait for the Department’s personnel to create a map tailored to their request to share with them.

The new, online system changes (and simplifies) all that. It can be easily searched and viewed by address, parcel number, owner name or groundwater-right number.

Since the system went “live” in February, ADWR designers have steadily worked out the bugs that inevitably pester such new and innovative systems.

Among them: After executing a search, the user can easily switch the selected GFR by clicking on any other right on the map, which will in turn also change the displayed information to the new, selected groundwater right.