Water is a farm or ranch manager's
most precious commodity. Establishing the rights to access both ground
and surface water resources has always been tightly controlled. In
fact, there is still a blue law on the books in many Arizona
communities that permit the state to prosecute anyone who refuses to
provide a person with a drink of water.
We will provide all of the historical research, water management asset
tracking (pumps, well heads, etc.), and filing needed to help manage
your water needs.
Idaho Water Rights
the 14th largest state in the US with approximately 52.9 million acres,
Idaho receives about 98 million total acre-feet of surface water
annually. Of the total acre-feet received, 49 million is considered
run-off surface water.
benefits from one of
the worlds largest under ground aquifers supplying roughly one third of
the water used for irrigation. Currently there are approximately 3
million irrigated acres in Idaho.
State is divided into
three water basins. The Snake River, the Northern Panhandle area, and
the Bear River (located in southeastern Idaho). Each basin has 150,000,
25,000, and 8,000 water rights, respectively.
Idaho Grants Water Rights
Prior to May 20, 1971 there were two methods through which a right to
surface water could be established. The first was to divert water and
apply it to a “beneficial use,” “historic use” or “constitutional”
water rights. The date that the water was put into beneficial use
established the priority date.
second method was through
the application/permit/license procedure established by the Idaho
Department of Water Resources (IDWR).
for ground water rights,
they are established in a similar manner. Prior to March 25, 1963
ground water rights were known to be separate from surface water.
Before 1963 there was very low water usage from irrigation wells.
Currently, ground and surface water rights are considered connected,
becoming intertwined with each other. This management strategy is best
known as “conjunctive management”.
constitution and statutes
of the State of Idaho protect the rights of a person to appropriate
(divert, or use) the public waters (surface and ground) of the State of
Idaho. When a private right to use of public waters is established by
appropriation, a water right is established and accepted as a real
Against Water Shortages
A priority date indicates when the water right was established. This is
important because it determines priority in the event of a shortage.
The appropriation doctrine has also been called “first in time, first
in right,” because the priority date determines who gets water when
there is not enough to go around. The water right is said to have
there is a shortage
of water, the water right holder with the oldest (senior) water right
is satisfied first, and so on down the line until all water rights are
satisfied, or the water runs out. If water is in short supply those
persons with a new (junior) water right would be curtailed or limited
until an ample water supply was replaced.
the state there are appointed water masters who regulate the
dispersement of the water by district. These water masters are elected
officials who regulate the water allocations in their district
corresponding with the IDWR rules and regulations. There are also
irrigation districts and canal companies that work directly with the
water right holder with respect to water management.
are an estimated 55 different irrigation districts and over 94 active
water districts in the State of Idaho. Our registered users (register for free)
are provided with more detailed information and maps of irrigation
Protecting Arizona Water Supplies
For over 75 years, Arizona
leaders have worked to ensure their communities have dependable
long-term water supplies. From gaining congressional authorization of
the Central Arizona Project (CAP) to crafting the 1980 Groundwater
Management code (the "Code"), they have protected a water supply which
will maintain Arizona's quality of life for years to come.
sources include surface
water from in-state streams and rivers, Colorado River water
transported over 300 miles to Central Arizona, groundwater and treated
wastewater. Long term surface water supply is estimated at 4.1 million
acre-feet per year, including 1.5 million acre-feet of Central Arizona
Project (CAP) water. Groundwater makes up the balance of the supply,
but in many areas throughout the state more groundwater is being pumped
than is being naturally recharged.
1980, the Arizona
Department of Water Resources (ADWR) was created to implement the Code
and secure long term water supplies for Arizona. So progressive was the
effort to manage Arizona's groundwater resources that in 1986, the Code
was named one of the ten most innovative programs in state and local
government by the Ford Foundation and Harvard University.
The Code set
restrictions on the uses of groundwater, which varies depending on
where the groundwater is located. Irrigation Non Expansion Areas (INAs)
and Active Management Areas (AMAs) were established in critical areas
of the state.
groundwater depletion is most severe are designated as AMAs. Currently
there are AMAs in Prescott, Phoenix, Pinal, Tucson and Santa Cruz. In
all but the Pinal AMA, the goal is safe yield by the year 2025. In the
largely agricultural Pinal AMA, the goal is to preserve that economy
for as long as feasible while considering preservation of groundwater
for future non-irrigation uses.
percent of the state
population resides in the AMAs. Specific water conservation measures
are required in these areas. For example, groundwater withdrawal must
be preceded by an Irrigation Grandfathered Right (IGR) or permit. Lands
located in an AMA cannot be irrigated without this right which is
appurtenant to the land. There is a 10 acre exemption.
In INAs, where irrigation
uses threaten to exceed limited water supplies, irrigated acreage is
restricted but specific water conservation measures are not required.
Arizona has three INAs in Joseph City, Harquahala and Douglas.
land in an INA must
have a Notice of Irrigation Authority (NIA) from the ADWR. NIAs in the
Joseph City and Douglas Irrigation Non Expansion Areas, as well as IGRs
in all AMAs were established during the five year period prior to
January 1, 1980. NIAs in the Harquahala Valley Irrigation Non Expansion
Area were established during the five year period prior to January 6,
1981. All rights are based on irrigation utilization during those
State law also provides for an annual assessment on most of the wells
pumping groundwater for irrigation. Owners of non-exempt wells within
AMAs and INAs must use approved measuring devices and submit Annual
Groundwater Withdrawal reports to ADWR.
is an exemption for
wells with a capacity of less than 35 GPM. Individuals withdrawing
groundwater from non-exempt wells within AMAs must pay an annual
groundwater withdrawal fee. Associated fees and use reports must be
filed annually in March.
new legislation, the annual withdrawal fees will increase slightly to
help finance AWBA efforts. Groundwater use outside of AMAs is not
regulated and does not require a permit. It is important to note that
drilling a well anywhere in the state requires that a "Notice of Intent
to Drill" be filed with ADWR.
First Management Plan
Management Plan 1990-2000
Management Plan 2000-2010
Fourth Management Plan
Management Plan 2020-2025