The Arizona Groundwater Management Act of 1980, mandated that all property owners register their wells with the Arizona Department of Water Resources. Additionally, the Act requires all property owners with a well to maintain accurate ownership information. Regardless of whether the well is shared or not.
However, frequently properties with wells are sold or transferred without informing the ADWR that there was a change in ownership. FYI, recording a deed of title with the county recorder does not notify the ADWR that the well has changed ownership. As such, many original property owners are still listed with the ADWR as the current owner
Well Registry Numbers– The Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) assigns a well registry number to each well when it is drilled. The well registry number is a unique number assigned to only one well. They are similar to a car’s Vehicle Identification Number (“VIN”) in that no two cars have the same numbers.
Well Registry Number’s “55-“. Well registry numbers all begin with 55- and then are followed by six numerical digits. Well Registry Numbers do not change even if well changes ownership.
verifying well ownership with the adwr
Well ownership can be checked by visiting the ADWR’s website. Click HERE. You can search by using the Well Registry Number, Property Owner Name or Search of Location (Township/Range, Parcel, Cadastral, Basin or Sub-basin). If you want help using the ADWR’s website you can watch a YouTube video I made explained the process in detail. Click HERE to watch my video.
REGISTERING a WATER WELL
If your water well is not registered in your name, you may not have a “known or definable” source of water for your home. Arizona does not consider groundwater to be private property belonging to the landowner. Exempt well water rights are more like an operating permit to withdraw a state managed natural resource.
Additionally, if a well is not registered in the owner’s name the ADWR cannot provide important notices of changes in groundwater laws that may affect their water rights.
ADWR Forms Mandated by A.R.S § Title 45
Form DWR 55-71A can be used to update the ADWR of the new owner. That same form can also be used to correct or change well location information, the name of the well drilling company to be used to drill or deepen the well, or any other pertinent information about the well.
Escrow officers will often use this form to record a transfer of well ownership with the Arizona Department of Water Resources at the time of escrow closing.
LOCATING WELL RECORDS
There are three basic ways to locate Arizona water well records. You can access well file data in the ADWR Imaged Records database the following ways;
1. Using the well registration number (55-000000), 2) by entering the file or cadastral (registry of real state property) designation of your well, or 3) by finding and clicking on a red dot a topographic map of the state of Arizona where your well is located. After locating your well records, you can download them in a pdf file format.
The first step is logging on to the ADWR web site as explained below. Log on to the ADWR Home Page and scroll down to Quick Links: and click on the Imaged Records logo, which will direct you to a page with a box named Search ADWR’s Imaged Records. Change the Imaged Record: field from “Groundwater Document” to “Well Record Document” using the scroll down menu on the right.
steps to registering a well
- First Step to Register a Water Well– The first step to registering a water well is to visit Change of Well Ownership (azwater.gov) and enter the well’s 55- number.
- Second Step to Register a Water Well– The second step to changing well ownership is to provide the new owner’s name and contact information.
- Third Step to Register a Water Well– The third step to registering a water well is to provide proof of ownership. Lastly, you must pay a $30 fee.
If you need assistance with your water well then contact the Dunaway Law Group at 480-702-1608 or message us HERE.
* These blog posts are not intended, nor shall they be deemed to render legal advice. Reading these blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor shall it impose an obligation on the part of the law firm to respond to further inquiry. The Dunaway Law Group limits its practice to the states of Arizona and New York.