Arizona launches supply-demand studies for 51 groundwater basins

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December 14, 2023 — The Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) has launched “Supply & DemandOpens in a new tab.,” a new online resource aimed at providing in-depth reports on the state’s groundwater basins.

Following a directive from the Arizona Legislature, ADWR has embarked on periodic assessments of groundwater supply and demand. These evaluations are crucial for understanding current and future water conditions, thereby aiding in statewide planning. Starting this year, annual assessments will be conducted for at least six of the state’s 51 groundwater basins, with a thorough review of all basins every five years.

2023 Deadlines Met.

While data limitations pose challenges in areas outside ADWR’s regulatory scope, the department’s analysts have met these challenges head-on, completing the first set of Supply and Demand assessments for 2023 on schedule.  For 2023, ADWR has produced extensive reports on the following basin (AMA means Active Management Area; INA stands for Irrigation Non-Expansion Area):

  • Butler Valley
  • Douglas AMA
  • Harquahala INA
  • McMullen Valley
  • San Bernardino
  • Tiger Wash
  • Willcox

These reports, along with a detailed Methods Appendix, are available on ADWR’s Supply and Demand portal. They have undergone rigorous review to ensure accuracy and regulatory compliance.

Focus Basins for 2024.

In 2024, ADWR will assess the following basins:

  • Agua Fria
  • Big Sandy
  • Cienega Creek
  • Donnelly Wash
  • Gila Bend
  • Lower San Pedro
  • Prescott AMA
  • Ranegras Plain
  • Santa Cruz AMA
  • San Rafael
  • Tonto Creek
  • Upper Hassayampa
  • Upper San Pedro
  • Verde River
Map f groundwater basins to be studied by ADWR in 2024.
Map of groundwater basins to be studied by ADWR in 2024. Image Source: Arizona Department of Water ResourcesOpens in a new tab.

Tailored Groundwater Analysis; Interdisciplinary Efforts.

ADWR’s innovative approach involves focusing on the “average well depth” for each basin, a method that provides a more precise understanding of accessible water resources. This project is a collaborative venture, drawing expertise from ADWR’s various divisions. The team’s combined skills in hydrology, data analysis, and stakeholder engagement have been pivotal in addressing each basin’s unique characteristics.

Understanding Each Basin’s Distinct Nature.

The assessment process takes into account the diverse industrial, agricultural, and municipal uses of water in each basin, along with multiple water sources. Future projection scenarios have also been developed to anticipate different outcomes based on changing conditions.



Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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