100-year Assured Water Supply. Water of sufficient quantity and quality is available to sustain a proposed development for 100 years and will be consistent with the management goal and management plan of the active management area.
Acre-foot. The volume of water required to cover 1 acre to a depth of 1 foot and is equal to 43,560 cubic feet or 325,851 gallons. In Arizona, 1 acre-foot is typically enough water to serve 3 single-family homes for a year.
ADWR Right Number. A water right or permit (56-, 57-, 58-, 59-, 74-) authorizes a user to legally withdraw water from a non-exempt well (those pumping over 35 gallons per minute) in an Active Management Area or Irrigation Non-Expansion Area. Withdrawals from non-exempt wells generally must be associated with the appropriate type of groundwater right or withdrawal authority. Pumpage from non-exempt wells must be reported annually.
Arizona Association of Realtors (AAR). Arizona Association of Realtors is the largest trade Association in Arizona, representing more than 40,000 Arizona Realtors subscribing to the strict code of ethics outlined by the National Association of Realtors. In addition to providing a number of benefits and services, AAR is dedicated to the protection of private property rights and the best interests of Arizona realtors in legislation and strives to provide the best and most current legal information and education available.
Arizona Water Settlement Act (AWSA). The AWSA represents a significant accomplishment and settles numerous water rights issues in Arizona. The settlement provides funding that will enable the Gila River Indian Community and Tohono O’odham Nation to rehabilitate and expand water infrastructure to meet the needs of their reservations. The AWSA also provides funds to pay the fixed operation and maintenance charges associated with delivery of CAP water to Arizona Indian tribes. The Act allows tribes to make use of water rights that previously existed only on paper. In addition, it brings long-sought certainty to cities and communities as they plan their growth and development and is a major component of a long-term water plan for Arizona.
Abandoned Well. Abandoned wells must be properly plugged by an Arizona licensed well driller after a Notice of Intent to Abandon (NOIA) the well has been filed with ADWR, and an abandonment authorization has been issued to the driller. This authorization from ADWR is required prior to well abandonment, and the landowner may be liable for any groundwater contamination or injury that results from lack of proper abandonment.
Active Management Areas (AMA). There are five geographic areas designated by the Arizona Groundwater Code (1980) requiring active management of groundwater. Each AMA has a management plan, a groundwater-rights system, restrictions on agricultural land expansion, and other requirements designed to preserve groundwater resources. Click HERE for a map of the Active Management Areas in Arizona.
Adequate Water Supply Program. The adequate water supply program operates outside of the Active Management Areas (AMAs). It ensures that the water adequacy or inadequacy is disclosed in the public report provided to potential first purchasers and that any water supply limitations are described in promotional or advertising material. However, in a mandatory adequacy jurisdiction, adequacy of water supplies must be demonstrated prior to plat approval and issuance of a public report.
Anthropogenic Contaminants. Anthropogenic contaminants are found in water as a result of human activities that release industrial and agricultural chemicals into the environment. Some anthropogenic contaminants are harmless or are not known to be toxic; others degrade, decomposing into harmless chemicals. Other anthropogenic contaminants can accumulate in human tissue and organs and be a potential danger to our health.
Aquifer. An underground geological formation of sand, soil, gravel, and rock that is able to store, transmit, and yield water.
Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR). A state agency established by the Arizona Groundwater Code of 1980 to administer and enforce the code provisions. Its primary mission is to ensure a long-term water supply for Arizona.
Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN). An Assessor’s Parcel Number, abbreviated as APN, is a unique descriptor used to identify assessed property within Arizona. It includes information about the ownership, characteristics, and valuation of each piece of land that is reordered and tracked by parcel number.
Assured Water Supply Program. The Arizona assured water supply program operates within Arizona’s five Active Management Areas (AMAs). It is designed to sustain the state’s economic health by preserving groundwater resources and promoting long-term water supply planning. AMAs are those areas of Arizona where significant groundwater depletion has occurred and include portions of Maricopa, Pinal, Pima, Santa Cruz and Yavapai counties.
Assured Water Supply v. the Adequate Water Supply Program. The assured water supply program covers subdivisions within Active Management Areas (AMAs), while the adequate water supply program covers developments outside of the AMAs. Four types of applications are processed in each of these roughly parallel programs: physical availability demonstration (PAD), designation of assured or adequate water supply, analysis of assured (or adequate) water supply, and either a certificate of assured water supply or a water adequacy report. Both programs are driven by the definition of a subdivision from the Arizona Department of Real Estate (ADRE) as six or more Parcels with at least one parcel having an area less than 36 Acres. Applicants are required to demonstrate an assured water supply that will be physically, legally, and Continuously available for the next hundred years before the developer can record plats or sell parcels.
Bladder Tank (Hydropneumatic Tanks). Bladder and hydropneumatic tanks are vessels that hold water and are under pressure in order to provide an efficient water supply. Compressed air creates a cushion that can absorb or apply pressure if needed. Air is held between the tank wall on the outside of a bladder, while the water is contained inside of the bladder. The air compressors as the bladder expands when the pump is running. Hydropneumatic tanks hold the air and water in direct contact and therefore require a constant replenishment of air in order to maintain a proper ratio of air and water.
Cadastral. The cadastral system is the rectangular coordinate system that is used to map much of Arizona. It divides the state into grids, with the smallest grid being 10-acres in size. Because we use the cadastral system, wells are often plotted to the nearest 10-acre quarter rather than the exact, physical location.
Certificate of Assured Water Supply: A developer of a proposed subdivision must have a 100-year Assured Water Supply to obtain plat approval and offer lots for sale. They can demonstrate that supply one of two ways: 1) By obtaining a commitment of water service from a water provider that has been designated by ADWR as having an Assured Water Supply, or 2) by obtaining a Certificate of Assured Water Supply directly from the ADWR. To obtain a Certificate of AWS, the applicant must demonstrate that the water will be physically, continuously, and legally available for 100 years.
Drawdown. The difference in elevation between the static water level and the pumping water level in a well.
Exempt Well. In Arizona, an exempt well (a.k.a. Domestic Well) has a maximum pump capacity of not more than 35 gallons per minute and water is not used for irrigation purposes inside an Active Management Area. Typical uses include non-irrigation purposes, non-commercial irrigation of less than 2 acres of land, and watering stock. Most exempt Wells are used for residences and are more than adequate for household use, but because they are exempt from reporting water quality, the well owner is responsible for ensuring the water is safe to drink.
Gallons Per Minute. Gallons per minute is an instantaneous measurement (GPM) of the flow rate of water from a well. It may or may not be the true value of the long-term sustainable pumping rate of the well. A measurement of gallons per day (GPD) that the well can produce would be a better method to compare and classify the productivity of a given well.
Hydraulic Fracturing. The process in which water or other fluid is pumped with sand under high pressure into a well to fracture and clean-out the rock surrounding the well bore thus increasing the flow to the well.
Index Wells. A subset of all wells in Arizona, these consist of approximately 1,800 wells that the Department designated to create a long-term record of groundwater level fluctuations by measuring depth to groundwater at least once per year.
Irrigation non-expansion Areas (INAs). Areas in Arizona designated as having insufficient groundwater to provide a reasonably safe supply for irrigation at the current rate of withdrawal. Once an INA is established, additional land may not be irrigated to preserve the existing irrigation of cultivated lands. There are currently three INAs in Arizona: Douglas, Harquahala, and Joseph City.
Irrigation Well. Irrigation Wells are not exempt from regulation, and the Arizona Department of Water Resources requires reporting extracted volumes of water used in commercial agriculture. Irrigation wells typically have a capacity greater than 35 gallons per minute and irrigate more than two acres. Under the Arizona groundwater code, there are several locations in Arizona or expansion of irrigated land is prohibited, and within the AMAs, operation of irrigation Wells total annual pumpage may be restricted.
Land Subsidence. The pressure exerted by liquid. Hydrostatic pressure increases with depth because of the increasing weight of fluid.
Non-exempt Wells. In Arizona, a non-exempt well must report the volume pumped (irrigation, industrial, and Municipal Wells) and monitor and Report water quality for water used for drinking water purposes (Municipal well and some industrial Wells). Wells exempt from these reporting requirements are limited to less than a maximum capacity of 35 gallons per minute and include non-irrigation purposes, non-commercial irrigation of less than 2 acres of land, and watering stock (livestock well). Pumpage from non-exempt wells must be reported annually.
Notice of Intent (NOI). The name of four different forms prescribed by the ADWR to be completed and filed prior to drilling a water well, an exploration borehole, or a monitoring well, or prior to abandoning any well.
Pitless Adapter. A special fitting installed in the side of the well casing that allows the water from the pump to exit the well groundwater and below the freeze line.
Potable Water. Water which is satisfactory for drinking, culinary, and domestic purposes.
Pressure Switch. An electrical device that turns a well or booster pump on and off at specified pressure settings measured in pounds per square inch (PSI).
Pro-rata Share– Under well share agreements, it is common for the parties to pay for their water pro-rata, that is, “based on usage”. In those instances, the cost of water is not split evenly between the parties but each family pays based on their water usage.
Quitclaim Deed. A quitclaim deed is a legal document used in real estate transactions to transfer ownership or interest in a property from one party to another. Unlike a warranty deed, a quitclaim deed does not provide any guarantees or warranties about the property’s title. Instead, it simply conveys whatever interest or rights the grantor (the person transferring the property) may have in the property, if any. This means that if there are any title issues or encumbrances on the property, the grantee (the person receiving the property) will not have any legal recourse against the grantor. Quitclaim deeds are often used in situations where there is a high level of trust between the parties involved, such as transferring property within a family or to a trust, but are less common in traditional real estate transactions.
Recharge. Water added to a groundwater aquifer. For example, when rainwater seeps into the ground. Recharge of groundwater may occur naturally through precipitation or surface water or artificially through injection wells or by spreading water over groundwater reservoirs.
Reclaimed Water. Or recycled water, is former wastewater that is treated to remove solids, reduce organic matter, and disinfected enough to meet reuse standards. In Arizona parks and gold courses must use reclaimed water for sustainable landscaping irrigation. It is also used to recharge groundwater aquifers; to sustain some riparian habitats; to meet commercial and industrial water needs; and, with additional treatment, for drinking.
Registrar of Contractors (ROC). The Arizona Registrar of Contractors issues licenses for commercial and residential work and dual licenses that covers both commercial and residential for each particular trade or field of the construction profession. Water well drillers must be licensed by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.
Run with the Land. Some types of contracts “run with the land”.
Shock Chlorination. A procedure whereby a strong oxidizing agent (typically chlorine) is mixed into the water of a well or a storage tank to inactivate or kill microorganisms that might be harmful to humans.
Static level. Stabilized water level in a non-pumped well, beyond or outside the area of influence of any pumping well.
Sustained Yield. Attempts to limit groundwater pumping have been commonly based on the concept of say field, defined as the attainment and maintenance of a long-term groundwater Supply, typically by limiting the rate of extraction to the rate of recharge. Sustainable development of groundwater resources must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to develop and use groundwater in a manner that can be maintained for an indefinite time without causing unacceptable environmental, economic, or social consequences.
Type 2 Non-irrigation Water Rights. These water rights are not tied to the land, but are considered personal property, and therefore can be bought and sold for use anywhere in the same AMA in which they were granted. A Type 2 may be either purchased in its entirety or can be leased in part or whole. Some Type 2 rights are limited to use for electrical power generation or mineral extraction; most Type 2 rights may be used for any non-irrigation purpose. You can view a list of Type 2 rights by AMA here. The Department also can issue permits to withdraw groundwater for various purposes. Permits are not perpetual rights to withdraw but expire on the date indicated on the issued permit.
Water Well Logs. Also known as borehole logging, is the practice of making a detailed record (a well log) of the geologic formations penetrated by a borehole. Many logs will include the ‘as-built’ diagram of the well depth, screen length, and pump placement.
Xeriscaping: An environmentally-friendly form of landscaping that uses a variety of indigenous and drought-tolerant plants, shrubs, and ground cover.
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The Dunaway Law Group provides this information as a service to clients and other friends for educational purposes only. It should not be construed or relied on as legal advice or to create a lawyer-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking advice from professional advisers. The Firm limits its practice to the states of Arizona and New York.