Backgrounds & Definitions

Arizona Groundwater Act
The 1980 Arizona Groundwater Management Act is a landmark  piece of legislation that is the cornerstone for groundwater resource management in the State of Arizona. This law created the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) and the four original Active Management Areas (AMAs), including the Prescott AMA.

Active Management Areas

The Active Management Areas, are regions where groundwater management is needed to address the impacts of large-scale groundwater withdrawals on groundwater resources. The Prescott Active Management Area (AMA) in central Yavapai County is 1 of 5 Active Management Areas in the state. The Prescott AMA includes the Town of Chino Valley, City of Prescott, Town of Prescott Valley, part of the Town of Dewey-Humboldt and unincorporated areas.


The stated management goal of the Prescott AMA is to achieve "safe-yield" by the year 2025 (Corkhill and Mason, 1995). Safe-yield is defined as the condition where long-term groundwater withdrawals do not exceed recharge to the aquifer system of the AMA.

Withdrawals include groundwater pumping and natural discharge, while recharge includes both natural, artificial and incidental recharge. According to ADWR studies completed in 1999, the Prescott AMA was officially declared to be out of safe-yield. Future development is now required to utilize renewable resources versus mined groundwater.

The Big Chino Sub-basin

To help reach safe-yield and provide for sustainable growth, the communities of the Prescott AMA are planning to import groundwater from the Big Chino Sub-basin into the Prescott AMA. This additional source of supply will allow for a reduction in groundwater pumping within the AMA and help reach its safe-yield goal. Importation of groundwater from the Big Chino Sub-basin is specifically allowed under certain conditions by Arizona Revised Statute 45-5555.

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