Press Release: Arizona Department of Water Resources conducts “basin sweep” to collect water-level measurements in the Lower Gila and Gila Bend Basins

Color Logo Transparent- For Web


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                   CONTACT: Shauna Evans

Dec. 4, 2019                                                                                          PHONE: 602.771.8079


Arizona Department of Water Resources conducts “basin sweep” to collect water-level measurements in the Lower Gila and Gila Bend Basins

PHOENIX- Beginning the week of December 9, 2019 and continuing for several months, the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) will be making an extensive effort to measure water levels in wells in the Lower Gila and Gila Bend Basins.  This sweep will cover a large portion of the state southwest of the Phoenix metropolitan area, generally south of I-10 and west of I-85, excluding the Yuma area and along the U.S. – Mexico border.

ADWR staff will attempt to measure water levels at hundreds of wells in the Lower Gila and Gila Bend Basins.  This survey of area wells – or basin “sweep,” as it is known — will be the first such basin survey of the area since 2008 in Gila Bend Basin and since 1992 in Lower Gila Basin. The data collected will be used for several purposes, including:

  • Analysis of water-level trends
  • Groundwater modeling
  • Water-level change maps
  • Hydrologic reports
  • Water resource planning and management

For more information regarding this matter, please contact Public Information Officer Shauna Evans at or (602) 771-8079.


Press Release: Arizona Department of Water Resources Accepting Applications for the Groundwater Conservation Grant

Color Logo Transparent- For Web


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                   CONTACT: Shauna Evans

Dec. 2, 2019                                                                                          PHONE: 602.771.8079


Arizona Department of Water Resources Accepting Applications for the Groundwater Conservation Grant

PHOENIX- The Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) is now accepting applications for the Water Management Assistance Program (WMAP) Groundwater Conservation Grant. This grant, in the sum of $2,000,000, was appropriated to the WMAP for the purpose of providing additional monies to support conservation of groundwater in Arizona’s five Active Management Areas (AMAs), pursuant to A.R.S. § 45-617 (C). Grants may be allocated to programs and projects that demonstrate the ability to conserve Arizona’s groundwater resources either directly or indirectly and are located within the five AMAs.

The deadline to submit applications is February 14, 2020, by 5 pm.

Application solicitation and the Grant Notice of Funding Opportunity may be found on the Arizona Office of Grants and Federal Resources website: Applications must be submitted through this website in order to be considered.

ADWR staff will host a grant application workshop on Tuesday, December 10th at 8:30–10:00 am at ADWR, 1110 W. Washington St., Room 3175, Phoenix, 85007. The workshop will be available via webinar as well as recorded and posted on the WMAP webpage at, for those who are not able to attend the workshop.

For additional information, please contact Melissa Sikes, WMAP Coordinator, at (602) 771-8449 or


2019 Pinal Groundwater model released

The “2019 Pinal Model and 100-year Assured Water Supply Projection Technical Memorandum” — an analysis of the Pinal County area’s groundwater conditions, performed by the Arizona Department of Water Resources,  is now complete and available for viewing.

The model can be viewed here.


#  #  #

ADWR director pens Pinal County oped urging local solutions for region’s water future

The Casa Grande Dispatch/Pinal Central today published a column by Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke extolling the values that decades ago made the state a  leader in groundwater management.

Those values, he observed,  including stakeholder involvement in decision-making and a commitment to consumer protection.

Those values will be on display in coming months as Pinal County address the challenges of future population and economic growth, he said.

“The legacy of the 1980 Groundwater Management Act is an enduring one. It proved that a spirit of cooperation among diverse interests can achieve far more than by acting alone.”

Director Buschatzke’s Dispatch/Pinal Central oped can be found here.

#  #  #

How do we sustain the Colorado River past 2026? Here’s how Arizona intends to find out.

The Opinion piece below was initially published on on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019.

By Tom Buschatzke, Director, Arizona Department of Water Resources, and Ted Cooke, General Manager, Central Arizona Project

It didn’t take long for the completion of the Drought Contingency Plan to create value to Arizona and the Colorado River Basin.

Its focus on stabilizing Lake Mead and creating incentives to “bank” water in the reservoir already are paying dividends.

We can say with confidence that DCP is already a success.

DCP is providing a safe harbor while we work on important issues leading up to 2026, when the existing guidelines for the operation of the Colorado River system expire.

We now have an opportunity to build on the successful Arizona process that led to the DCP signing. Arizona is Stronger Together. And that will serve us well as we work toward the next step – maintaining a stable, healthy Colorado River system as we face a hotter and drier future.

Lake Mead is 22 feet higher than expected

A year ago, many of us were immersed in the details of Arizona’s Drought Contingency Implementation Plan, which benefited from the cooperative spirit of its participants, including elected leaders and representatives from every sector of the state’s water-using community.

ADWR Director Buschatzke
Tom Buschatzke

In 2020 and likely 2021, we will be operating under DCP’s Tier Zero, a reduction of 192,000 acre-feet to Arizona. The estimated impact of contributing this water is more than $40 million, but the investment is worth it to protect the Colorado River system.

Aerial View of the Colorado River
Ted Cooke

DCP’s incentives allowed for greater storage in Lake Mead this year. That, coupled with a lot of snow from the Rocky Mountains and additional tributary flow, increased storage in Lake Mead by more than 22 feet from what was initially projected.

An excellent winter snowpack in the Rockies helped Lake Mead a lot. But here is the kicker: Almost half of that 22-foot rise in Lake Mead was due to storage and contributions to system conservation.

But DCP won’t hold us forever

The term used for the coming negotiations on the system’s new guidelines is “reconsultation” of the “Colorado River Interim Guidelines for Lower Basin Shortages and the Coordinated Operations for Lake Powell and Lake Mead.”

The emphasis is on “interim.” The 2007 Guidelines expire in 2026. So, when people ask “what’s next?” for Colorado River management, that’s it – the difficult challenge of assessing the effectiveness of the current Guidelines, with the DCP overlay, and exploring new approaches for the next iteration of the Guidelines.

As we learned on January 31 when the State Legislature passed, and Governor Doug Ducey signed Arizona’s DCP, we achieved success because we worked together. We intend to bring the steering committee process back to life, reviving that spirit of cooperation that so infused negotiations.

To that end, we are embarking on a listening and data-collecting effort. It is our plan to meet first with the elected leaders who contributed so much time and effort to the successful steering committee process. Then, we plan to sit down with other delegates, including those representing Arizona tribes, cities, agriculture, mining, development and the nonprofit community.

Our goal: To develop a shared vision

Our new goal? Gather our stakeholders’ thoughts and develop a shared vision as we plan for Arizona’s Colorado River water supply.

This will ensure Arizona is a strong voice among the Colorado River Basin states and the federal government as we hammer out the next set of agreements for management of the Colorado River Basin beyond 2026.

That is our “Next Step.” It’s a big one and we must be prepared. And we will be, because Arizona truly is Stronger Together.



September 18, 2019


water protection fund logo




Mailing Address

Arizona Department of Water Resources

Attn: Reuben Teran

P.O. Box 36020

Phoenix Arizona 85067






(602) 771-8687

Physical Address

1110 West Washington, Suite 310

Phoenix, Arizona 85007


Pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 45-2113, notice is hereby given that the Arizona Water Protection Fund Commission has received grant applications for its fiscal year 2020 funding cycle. Grant applications are available for public review at the Arizona Water Protection Fund website or at the Arizona Department of Water Resources physical address described above.  Written comments regarding grant applications may be submitted during the 45-day public comment period, which begins September 18, 2019 and ends November 1, 2019 at 5 pm.  Written public comments must be received no later than 5 p.m., on November 1, 2019. Written comments can be hand-delivered, or sent via email or fax. If mailed, written comments must be postmarked no later than November 1, 2019. Please include application numbers and titles with any comments.  For additional information, please contact Reuben Teran, Executive Director at (602) 771-8528.

Arizona Department of Water Resources statement on the Bureau of Reclamation’s August 24-month Study



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                 CONTACT: Doug MacEachern

August 15, 2019                                                                                          PHONE: 602.771.8507


Statement from Arizona Department of Water Resources regarding the Bureau of Reclamation’s August 24-month Study report
  • As a result of today’s 24-Month Study of conditions on the Colorado River system, Arizona will leave 192,000 acre-feet of its 2020 allocation in Lake Mead
  • The May 20 Drought Contingency Plan agreement among the seven Colorado River States and the Department of the Interior, as well as Minute 323 of the Water Treaty between the U.S. and the Republic of Mexico, will prompt more participating entities to leave water, earlier and at higher levels, in Lake Mead
  • The conditions set out in the May 20 DCP agreement relieve concerns of Arizona, Nevada and California that water in Lake Mead may be “stranded” there as a result of shortage declarations. Instead, the DCP encourages those States to leave Intentionally Created Surplus water in Lake Mead
  • The months-long efforts of the Steering Committee co-chaired by ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke and Central Arizona Project General Manager Ted Cooke to mitigate the effects of Colorado River delivery shortfalls yielded a consensus approach that will help Arizona contend with a drier future

The release today of the Bureau of Reclamation’s August 2019 24-Month Study of conditions on the Colorado River system indicates that Lake Mead elevations at the end of 2019 – slightly under 1,090 feet — will result in a “Tier Zero” condition in the reservoir. That means Arizona will take a reduction of 192,000 acre-feet in its 2020 deliveries of Colorado River water to the Central Arizona Project canal system.

The delivery reduction in Arizona’s 2.8 million acre-foot annual allocation is in accordance with a set of Interim Guidelines set by the Colorado River States in 2007, in combination with the incremental contributions established by the States in the Drought Contingency Plan agreements signed earlier this year.

The delivery reduction will help bolster surface levels at Lake Mead, which, according to some projections, could fall to critical levels within a few years if left unaddressed.

Thanks largely to the DCP, however, Arizona will not be alone in leaving portions of its allocation in the reservoir.

As a result of the DCP agreements signed by the States on May 20, Nevada also will leave 8,000 acre-feet of its 300,000 acre-foot annual allocation in Lake Mead. The DCP agreement also stipulates that California will begin leaving a portion of its allocation in the reservoir should surface levels go below 1,045 feet.

Additionally, the Republic of Mexico will leave 41,000 acre-feet of its annual allocation in Lake Mead, according to the Binational Water Scarcity Contingency Plan that Mexico recently signed with the U.S. The BWSCP was made possible by Minute 323 to the U.S.-Mexico Water Treaty, which was entered into force in September 2017.

Those efforts – plus a much deeper than average snowpack this winter in the Rocky Mountains – have reduced the risks to the Colorado River system caused by lingering drought conditions, as well as over-allocation.

Arizona recently took some major steps to mitigate the impact in-state of delivery shortages to Central Arizona Project system water-users.

On January 31, the Arizona Legislature passed, and Governor Doug Ducey signed, legislation authorizing the Director of ADWR to join the other six Colorado River States in signing the Drought Contingency Plan. The package of legislation also included funding for conserving water in Lake Mead and for mitigating the impact of the shortage on Arizona water users, largely agricultural users in the CAP system.


Related facts:

  • Arizona has been taking voluntary reductions in its Colorado River allocation close to 192,000 acre-feet since 2015. In 2015, the State saved 195,103 acre-feet in Lake Mead; in 2017, 290,497 acre-feet
  • All told, Arizona anticipates saving nearly 279,701 acre-feet in Lake Mead in 2019 through programs such as the Pilot System Conservation Program and through Intentionally Created Surplus


See also:

ADWR Press Release

Bureau of Reclamation Press Release

For more information regarding this matter, please contact Doug MacEachern, Communications Administrator at or (602) 771-8507.








FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                    CONTACT: Sally Stewart Lee

July 8, 2019                                                                                                      PHONE: 602.771.8530

Arizona Water Protection Fund Accepting Applications for Fiscal Year 2020 Grant Cycle

PHOENIX- The Arizona Water Protection Fund (AWPF) supports projects that develop or implement on the ground measures that directly maintain, enhance and restore Arizona’s river and riparian resources.

The AWPF Commission is now accepting applications for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 AWPF grant cycle. The deadline to submit applications is at 3 p.m. September 6, 2019. The AWPF Commission awards grants under three categories: capital projects, research, and water conservation. The grant cycle schedule, grant application manual, and electronic forms are available on the AWPF website at:

AWPF staff will be hosting one grant application workshop*:

Location Date Time Address

Phoenix, AZ


July 24, 2019


1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Arizona Dept. of Water Resources 1110 W. Washington St. Suite 310

Phoenix, AZ 85007

Middle Verde Conference Room. 4th Floor

*Staff will also be hosting a live online webinar of the grant application workshop for those not able to attend in person. Please contact the Arizona Water Protection Fund (602-771-8528) for more information prior to July 24, 2019.

The AWPF promotes the use of incentives emphasizing local implementation rather than regulation to address resource concerns. As such, the AWPF Commission’s philosophy has been to utilize a grassroots approach to improving river and riparian resources statewide.

The Arizona Legislature established the AWPF in 1994 (A.R.S. § 45-2101, et seq.). The Arizona Department of Water Resources provides administrative, technical, and legal support to the AWPF Commission. The legislation establishing the AWPF provides that it is the declared policy of the Legislature to provide for a coordinated effort between state funding and locally led solutions for the restoration and conservation of the water resources of the state. A.R.S. § 45-2101(A). The primary purpose of the AWPF is to provide monies through a competitive public grant process for implementation of measures to protect water of sufficient quality and quantity to maintain, enhance, and restore rivers and streams and associated riparian resources consistent with existing water law and water rights, and measures to increase water availability. A.R.S. § 45-2101(B).

For additional information, please contact Reuben Teran at

ADWR Director to provide congressional testimony on Wednesday on behalf of tribal settlement

Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke on Wednesday will express Arizona’s strong support for an important tribal settlement before a subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee.

Director Buschatzke is scheduled to testify before the House Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife on H.R. 2459, the Hualapai Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act of 2019.

The federal legislation approves a settlement agreement involving the tribe and state parties that includes providing the tribe with 4,000 acre-feet per year of Central Arizona Project water from the Colorado River. The settlement also includes the planning, design and construction of the “Hualapai Water Project,” which includes a pipeline capable of delivering 3,414 acre-feet per year to the tribal reservation at Peach Springs and beyond to the tribe’s major tourist attractions at Grand Canyon West.

Approval by Congress would authorize an appropriation of $134.5 million for construction of the Project, $32 million for operation, maintenance and replacement costs by the Tribe, and $7 million for use by the Secretary of the Interior in operating the water project before title is conveyed to the Tribe. The funding also provides technical assistance to prepare the Tribe for the operation of the Project.

For the Hualapai Tribe, the settlement provides a renewable water supply and the infrastructure to convey that water supply from the Colorado River to critical areas on the Tribe’s reservation.

“The State of Arizona strongly supports this legislation,” said Director Buschatzke.

“Half of the 22 federally recognized Indian tribes in Arizona still have unresolved water rights claims. Resolving these claims through settlement is a priority for the State.”

This appearance is the second time this year that Director Buschatzke has testified before the House Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife. On March 28, he joined other representatives of the Colorado River Basin States, as well as Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman, speaking on behalf the successful effort to pass the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan.

The Director also testified on Capitol Hill in support of the Hualapai Tribe water-rights settlement on December 6, 2017.

Who: ADWR Director Tom Buschatzke

What: Testimony on behalf of H.R. 2459, sponsored by Rep. Tom O’Halleran of Arizona

Where: Before the Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife of the House Natural Resources Committee

When: 2 p.m. (EDT); 11 a.m. (MST)

First meeting of the Management Plans Work Group set for July 9

The Management Plans Working Group is the stakeholder forum for the development of the Active Management Areas Fifth Management Plans, with a goal of working to assess existing AMA conservation programs and to develop new management strategies for the 5th management period and beyond.

The first meeting will detail the recommendations of the Arizona Department of Water Resources for the remaining 4th Management Plans and begin discussions of the research and analysis needed to begin work on the 5th Management Plans.

These meetings are open to the public, and webinar information will be available upon request. Meeting information, agendas, and other documents will be posted at

When: Tuesday, July 9, 2019, 1:00pm – 2:30pm
Where: ADWR main offices; 1110 W. Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85007; Conference Room 3175

Who: ADWR; direct questions to