Tue 23 Mar 2010
FIVE is the number of Active Management Areas (AMAs) in Arizona: Phoenix, Pinal, Prescott, Santa Cruz, and Tucson. An AMA is an area designated for special management under the 1980 Arizona Groundwater Code due to their mining of groundwater–withdrawing significantly more than is recharged. The Code also established the Irrigation Non-expansion Area (INA), of which there are three: Douglas, Harquahala, and Joseph City. Just as the name suggests, the INAs cannot expand agricultural land use and irrigation within their boundaries. Visit the ADWR site for more information about AMAs, INAs, and the Arizona Groundwater Code.
These groundwater management strategies were visionary when enacted. Unfortunately, there’s been little progress since that time.
We understand very well that many rivers, streams, seeps, and springs in Arizona rely on groundwater for their perennial or intermittent flows. Groundwater pumping lowers the water table and substantially decreases surface flows. Del Rio Springs, once a feeder spring to the upper Verde River, is expected to go dry within 20 years due to groundwater pumping within the Prescott AMA. Groundwater pumping in the Tucson and Santa Cruz AMAs has decimated the Santa Cruz River.
Arizona Rivers will explore every opportunity to bring recognition of groundwater/surface water connections to Arizona water law and install protections for streams and riparian habitat. We are currently participating in the governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on water sustainability as a Conservation sub-group member and will continue to educate citizens and decision-makers as to the importance of healthy stream ecosystems.
Join us today! Together we can make important gains for Arizona’s rivers.