Where We Stand Hero

AMWUA vigorously protects our members’ ability to provide assured, safe, and sustainable water supplies and advocates for Arizona’s continued water security.

Where We Stand On The Issues

Smart water policy and careful planning, investment, and management have enabled AMWUA’s members to build robust, reliable water supplies that support our communities and economy. It is imperative that we continue to address the issues in front of us to ensure the future viability of those supplies. Learn more about some of the issues we are working on:

Where We Stand on Legislation

2021 - Fifty-fifth Legislature - First Regular Session

Arizona Senate

SB 1147: Water banking; storage credits; subcontractors

In Brief: Allows the Arizona Water Banking Authority to directly distribute long-term storage credits to M&I Subcontractors

Sponsor(s): Kerr

Last Action: Assigned to Senate NREW Committee 1/13

Description: For nearly three decades the Arizona Water Banking Authority (AWBA) has stored Colorado River water underground to supplement the water supplies of Central Arizona Project (CAP) Municipal & Industrial (M&I) subcontractors. To access the stored water in times of shortage, current statutes require that the AWBA must first transfer the LTSC to CAP for recovery. This bill would provide the AWBA with the option to distribute LTSC directly to M&I subcontractors. The concept of direct distribution is an outcome of a stakeholder effort to plan for the recovery of water supplies stored by the AWBA. This legislative change would provide flexibility and simplicity for recovery of AWBA credits and reduces the cost of recovery to end users.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/74614

SB 1021: Groundwater; waterlogged area exemption; date

In Brief: Extends exemptions associated with the Buckeye Waterlogged Area (BWLA) through 2034.

Sponsor(s): Kerr

Last Action: Passed Senate NREW Committee 1/13

Description: The Buckeye Waterlogged Area (BWLA) was established by the Legislature in 1988, covering an area surrounding the Gila River from confluence with the Salt River west to Gillespie Dam, which includes part of Avondale and Goodyear. Within the BWLA, farmlands are exempt from water duties, certain irrigation districts are exempt from conservation requirements, and entities pumping groundwater are not required to pay withdrawal fees. Statute requires that ADWR review the area’s hydrologic conditions and make a recommendation to the Governor and Legislature on whether or not the exemptions should continue. ADWR published its findings in December 2019 and recommended that the BWLA continue through 2034. This bill would extend the BWLA exemptions through 2034, as recommended by ADWR.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/74310

SB 1079: Well drilling; groundwater basins

In Brief: Establishes a well drilling moratorium in the Upper San Pedro and Verde Valley Subbasins

Sponsor(s): Steele

Last Action: Assigned to Senate NREW Committee 1/12

Description: Establishes a well drilling moratorium that prevents new wells in the Upper San Pedro and Verde Valley groundwater subbasins until the conclusion of the General Stream Adjudication unless a well is a replacement well or does not pump subflow.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/74426

SB 1177: Forest products; processing; tax credit

In Brief: Establishes a forest industry tax credit intended to promote forest thinning and watershed health

Sponsor(s): Kerr

Last Action: Assigned to Senate Committees 1/19

Description: This legislation would establish a new tax credit for qualifying entities in the forest product industry that participate in the Arizona Commerce Authority’s “Healthy Forest Enterprise Incentive Program.” The tax credit is determined by the volume qualifying forest products that the business processes annually. This legislation, developed by SRP, is intended to incentivize increased forest thinning to improve watershed conditions. The tax credit offered in this legislation expires after 10 years.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/74783

SB 1037: Water efficient plumbing fixtures

In Brief: Updates to Arizona's plumbing code to require water efficient fixtures.

Sponsor(s): Engel

Last Action: Assigned to House Committees 1/11

Description: Arizona adopted water-efficiency standards for indoor plumbing fixtures in 1992 which have since been superseded by various federal laws and requirements. This bill would update Arizona’s water-efficiency standards to align with criteria established by the WaterSense Program, a public-private partnership between industry, utilities, and regulators.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/74334

SB 1274: Assured water supply; subdivisions

In Brief: Modifies assured water supply statutes for Designated Water Providers in the Pinal AMA and material plat changes for Certificates of AWS.

Sponsor(s): Shope

Last Action: Awaiting First Read and Committee assignments

Description: This measure has been introduced on behalf of the Pinal AMA Stakeholder Group, entities working to address groundwater physical availability issues in the Pinal AMA that has caused ADWR to hold issuing new Assured Water Supply Certificates and Designations. HB 2336 and SB 1274 would amend statute to allow a water provider only in the Pinal AMA to Modify their most recent Designation of Assured Water Supply (AWS) without having to re-demonstrate the physical availability of groundwater as long as the Provider is not seeking to increase its physical availability volume. This bill codifies ADWR’s existing policies related to determining the “Area of Impact” for water stored underground that will be included in an AWS application. The bill also changes the AWS statutes to allow developers to change the land use type or increase the number of housing units on a subdivision plat associated with existing Certificates of AWS, provided that the overall water use does not increase. Current regulations require developers to apply for a new Certificate if a plat is revised and housing units are increased by 10% or more. AMWUA has worked with the proponents of this bill to incorporate technical amendments related to the AWS Program as well as to secure a provision that would ensure ADWR can revise its Rules across all AMAs to make conforming changes.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/75052

Arizona House

HB 2035: Appropriation; Arizona water protection fund

In Brief: Would appropriate $1 million from the state general fund for the Arizona Water Protection Fund.

Sponsor(s): Griffin

Last Action: Passed House Appropriations Committee 1/21

Description: This bill would appropriate $1 million from the state general fund in Fiscal Year 2021-22 to the Arizona Water Protection Fund. The Arizona Water Protection Fund is a state-run program administered by ADWR that funds projects to protect and enhance water quality and quantity in Arizona's rivers, streams, and riparian areas. Some of these efforts include revegetation, erosion control, channel stabilization, research, and water conservation. AMWUA has supported this legislation in previous years.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/74340

HB 2041: Groundwater replenishment reserves

In Brief: Modifies the statutory calculation for the CAGRD's Replenishment Reserve Target

Sponsor(s): Griffin

Last Action: Passed House NREW Committee 1/12

Description: This bill introduces clarifications to the calculation of CAGRD’s 100-year replenishment obligation for the purpose of calculating the replenishment reserve target. Existing statute could be read to require the CAGRD to calculate the replenishment reserve based on each AMA’s buildout obligation multiplied by 100. Modifies the statutory calculation of each AMA’s projected replenishment obligation to equal the cumulative projected obligation for each year following submission of the Plan of Operation. AMWUA supported this legislation in the 2020 session.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/74373

HB 2056: Water conservation notice; no forfeiture

In Brief: Protects a water right holder from forfeiture through nonuse if they file a "water conservation plan" with ADWR

Sponsor(s): Griffin

Last Action: Passed House NREW Committee 1/12

Description: Allows a water right holder to file a “Water Conservation Plan” with ADWR. Upon filing a plan that outlines water conservation measures that are planned or will be implemented, the water rights included in that notice would be shielded from a claim of abandonment or forfeiture. The Plan can be extended by 10-years, indefinitely. Includes a legislative intent clause specifying that the Legislature intends the provisions to only apply prospectively.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/74393

HB 2074: Water banking; storage credits; subcontractors

In Brief: Allows the Arizona Water Banking Authority to directly distribute long-term storage credits to M&I Subcontractors

Sponsor(s): Pratt

Last Action: Assigned to House NREW Committee 1/14

Description: For nearly three decades the Arizona Water Banking Authority (AWBA) has stored Colorado River water underground to supplement the water supplies of Central Arizona Project (CAP) Municipal & Industrial (M&I) subcontractors. To access the stored water in times of shortage, current statutes require that the AWBA must first transfer the LTSC to CAP for recovery. This bill would provide the AWBA with the option to distribute LTSC directly to M&I subcontractors. The concept of direct distribution is an outcome of a stakeholder effort to plan for the recovery of water supplies stored by the AWBA. This legislative change would provide flexibility and simplicity for recovery of AWBA credits and reduces the cost of recovery to end users.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/74423

HB 2078: Groundwater; waterlogged area exemption; date

In Brief: Extends exemptions associated with the Buckeye Waterlogged Area (BWLA) through 2034.

Sponsor(s): Dunn

Last Action: Passed House NREW Committee 1/12

Description: The Buckeye Waterlogged Area (BWLA) was established by the Legislature in 1988, covering an area surrounding the Gila River from confluence with the Salt River west to Gillespie Dam, which includes part of Avondale and Goodyear. Within the BWLA, farmlands are exempt from water duties, certain irrigation districts are exempt from conservation requirements, and entities pumping groundwater are not required to pay withdrawal fees. Statute requires that ADWR review the area’s hydrologic conditions and make a recommendation to the Governor and Legislature on whether or not the exemptions should continue. ADWR published its findings in December 2019 and recommended that the BWLA continue through 2034. This bill would extend the BWLA exemptions through 2034, as recommended by ADWR.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/74429

HB 2203: Well drilling; groundwater basins

In Brief: Establishes a well drilling moratorium in the Upper San Pedro and Verde Valley Subbasins

Sponsor(s): Cano

Last Action: Assigned to House NREW Committee 1/20

Description: Establishes a well drilling moratorium that prevents new wells in the Upper San Pedro and Verde Valley groundwater subbasins until the conclusion of the General Stream Adjudication unless a well is a replacement well or does not pump subflow.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/74640

HB 2204: Wells; permits; spacing rules

In Brief: Mandates water use metering and reporting for groundwater wells throughout the state

Sponsor(s): Cano

Last Action: Assigned to House NREW Committee 1/20

Description: Requires that ADWR adopt rules governing the location of new and replacement wells >35 gpm located outside of AMAs, within groundwater basins that the Director determines to be experiencing declining groundwater levels.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/74641

HB 2205: WQARF; appropriation

In Brief: Appropriates $15 million from the general fund to the Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund (WQARF).

Sponsor(s): Cano

Last Action: Assigned to House NREW Committee 1/20

Description: Appropriates $20 million from the general fund in FY2021-22 to the Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund. WQARF is a state-sponsored program established by the Legislature and administered by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to clean up hazardous soil and groundwater contamination.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/74642

HB 2206: Subsequent irrigation non-expansion areas; procedures

In Brief: Modifies the procedures for determination of a new Irrigation Non-Expansion Area (INA)

Sponsor(s): Cano

Last Action: Assigned to House NREW Committee 1/20

Description: This measure introduces a number of modifications to the procedures for establishment of new irrigation non-expansion areas (INA). This bill would allow ADWR to consider projected rates of groundwater withdrawal as part of the determination of a new INA. The bill also clarifies which entities are eligible to petition the State to create a new INA, and would mandate that petitioners submit a groundwater model and hydrologic assessment using methodology approved by the ADWR Director. This bill mirrors the suggested statutory changes presented by ADWR in the summer of 2017 during the Governor’s Water Discussions.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/74643

HB 2209: Groundwater pumping; measuring; reporting

In Brief: Mandates water use metering and reporting for nonexempt groundwater wells throughout the state

Sponsor(s): Cano

Last Action: Assigned to House NREW Committee 1/20

Description: Requires monitoring and annual reporting for nonexempt groundwater wells throughout the state. Water users who irrigate 10 or fewer acres that are not part of a larger farming operation, or water users who pump <10 acre-feet per year for non-irrigation use are exempted from this requirement.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/74646

HB 2247: Forest products; processing; tax credit

In Brief: Establishes a forest industry tax credit intended to promote forest thinning and watershed health

Sponsor(s): Griffin

Last Action: Passed House NREW Committee 1/21

Description: This legislation would establish a new tax credit for qualifying entities in the forest product industry that participate in the Arizona Commerce Authority’s “Healthy Forest Enterprise Incentive Program.” The tax credit is determined by the volume qualifying forest products that the business processes annually. This legislation, developed by SRP, is intended to incentivize increased forest thinning to improve watershed conditions. The tax credit offered in this legislation expires after 10 years.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/74679

HB 2286: Water efficient plumbing fixtures

In Brief: Updates to Arizona's plumbing code to require water efficient fixtures.

Sponsor(s): Lieberman

Last Action: Awaiting First Read and Committee assignment

Description: Arizona adopted water-efficiency standards for indoor plumbing fixtures in 1992 which have since been superseded by various federal laws and requirements. This bill would update Arizona’s water-efficiency standards to align with criteria established by the WaterSense Program, a public-private partnership between industry, utilities, and regulators.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/74744?SessionId=123

HB 2330: Environmental quality programs; terminations; repeal

In Brief: Removes statutory termination dates for multiple ADEQ programs.

Sponsor(s): Griffin

Last Action: Passed House NREW Committee 1/21

Description: This bill proposes to remove the statutory termination dates for multiple programs administered by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). Current statutes include sunset dates for these individual programs, separate from ADEQ’s sunset review as an entire agency. Removing the termination dates for these programs would align their sunset reviews with the ADEQ sunset review.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/74812?SessionId=123

HB 2336: Assured water supply; subdivisions

In Brief: Modifies assured water supply statutes for Designated Water Providers in the Pinal AMA and material plat changes for Certificates of AWS.

Sponsor(s): Pratt

Last Action: Passed House NREW Committee 1/21

Description: This measure has been introduced on behalf of the Pinal AMA Stakeholder Group, entities working to address groundwater physical availability issues in the Pinal AMA that has caused ADWR to hold issuing new Assured Water Supply Certificates and Designations. HB 2336 and SB 1274 would amend statute to allow a water provider only in the Pinal AMA to Modify their most recent Designation of Assured Water Supply (AWS) without having to re-demonstrate the physical availability of groundwater as long as the Provider is not seeking to increase its physical availability volume. This bill codifies ADWR’s existing policies related to determining the “Area of Impact” for water stored underground that will be included in an AWS application. The bill also changes the AWS statutes to allow developers to change the land use type or increase the number of housing units on a subdivision plat associated with existing Certificates of AWS, provided that the overall water use does not increase. Current regulations require developers to apply for a new Certificate if a plat is revised and housing units are increased by 10% or more. AMWUA has worked with the proponents of this bill to incorporate technical amendments related to the AWS Program as well as to secure a provision that would ensure ADWR can revise its Rules across all AMAs to make conforming changes.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/74836?SessionId=123

HB 2390: Law clinic; stream adjudications; appropriation

In Brief: Provides $500,000 for local universities to assist claimants in the General Stream Adjudication

Sponsor(s): Griffin & Bowers

Last Action: Awaiting First Read and Committee assignments

Description: This bill allows local Arizona Universities to represent claimants who meet certain low-income requirements in the General Stream Adjudications. Appropriates $500,000 to the University of Arizona to establish a law clinic for this purpose.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/74927?SessionId=123

HB 2441: Water; substitute acreage

In Brief: Allows an irrigator to retire irrigated acres and apply that water right to new, substitute lands.

Sponsor(s): Griffin

Last Action: Awaiting First Read and Committee assignments

Description: Adds statutory provisions that would allow an irrigator to retire irrigated acres and apply that water right to new, “substitute” lands. The substitute lands must be contiguous to the retired acres and part of the same farming unit. The irrigator must notify ADWR that the retired acres were damaged by floodwaters or, report that a “condition” (including soil quality or the shape of the farmland) exists that is limiting the efficient irrigation of those original acres and that the substitution of new land will facilitate more efficient water use.

Link: https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/75013

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Water is essential for life. It supplies food, generates energy, and creates jobs. The wellbeing of our communities and economies depends on it. In a desert, we are acutely aware that we must continue to plan, invest, and develop forward-thinking policy today to ensure safe, reliable, and sustainable water supplies for the future.