Informal public meeting set for Gila Bend AMA in rural Arizona

Gila Bend, Arizona agriculture
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January 25, 2024 — The initial stages have been set for the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) to designate another Active Management Area (AMA) to regulate groundwater pumping in the state.

ADWR will host an informal public meeting (PDF link to notice)Opens in a new tab. to present information and receive public comments and questions on whether the Director of ADWR should initiate procedures to designate the Gila Bend Groundwater Basin as a subsequent Active Management Area. The meeting will be held virtually and in-person from 6-8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 30.  Additional information is available on ADWR’s website: in a new tab.

Gila Bend Groundwater Basin
Gila Bend Groundwater Basin – Source, ADWR

Largely used for agriculture, the Gila Bend Groundwater Basin is considered a top priority of ADWR, which Tucson.comOpens in a new tab. reports is experiencing one of the worst groundwater declines in the state.

Groundwater pumping in the rural basin is currently unregulated.  Regulation of groundwater pumping in Arizona’s rural areas has been a source of contention.  Should ADWR proceed with designating the Gila Bend AMA, it will be the first AMA basin created by the state since the passage of the 1980 Groundwater Act.Opens in a new tab.  In 2022, the Douglas AMA was designated through a citizens’ initiative, adding to Arizona’s then-existing five AMAs: Prescott, Phoenix, Pinal, Tucson, and Santa Cruz.

Image:  Stacks of deep golden hay piled up at the side of the road in southern Arizona near Gila Bend, Photo 17474347 | Gila Bend Arizona © Adeliepenguin |


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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