The Arizona Groundwater Management Act of 1980, mandates that all property owners register their water wells with the ADWR. Additionally, it requires well property owners to maintain accurate ownership information with the ADWR.
However, many properties are sold and transferred without informing the ADWR that there was a change in ownership.
The Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) applies a Well Registry Number to each well in Arizona. The Well Registry Number is similar to a Vehicle Identification Number (“VIN”) in that a unique number is assigned to each well. The Well Registry Number’s “55-” and then are followed by six numerical digits. Well Registry Numbers do not change even if well changes ownership.
Arizonians must register their water wells with the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR). Registering a water well with the ADWR is a fairly straightforward process as described below.
WELLs must be REGISTered with the adwr
Many well properties are sold or transferred without providing the ADWR with the new owners information.
Recording a deed of title with the county recorder not notify the ADWR that the well property’s ownership has changed. As such, many original property owners are still listed with the ADWR as the current owner.
how to verify well ownership with the adwr
The well ownership as currently documented by the ADWR can be verified by visiting their 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).
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 then the Arizona Department of Water Resources cannot notify you of pending changes in groundwater law that may affect you water rights.
Arizona private water well owners are left to manage and protect their own wells. There are no standards for the performance of private or shared water wells during the sale and transfer of the real estate upon which the well is constructed.
VERIFYING THE REGISTRATION OF A WATER WELL
The first thing that any private well owner should do is check with the Arizona Department of Water Resources to see if the well is registered in their name. You can do this by logging on to the ADWR web site and searching its “Imaged Records“.
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.