|      |   

Go To Search
I Want To...
Click to Home

Water Adequacy
Water Management – Adequate Water Supply (AWS) Program
The City of Flagstaff is not located within an Active Management Area as defined by the 1980 Groundwater Management Act, however it is governed by the permissive Adequate Water Supply Program administered by Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR).

Permissive AWS Program
On May 17, 1973, the City was deemed to have a Designation of Adequate Water Supply although it was never required to demonstrate hydrologic proof of a 100-year water supply. While this program attempts to link growth and the necessary water supply, it has no regulatory teeth to require the City of Flagstaff to demonstrate that a 100-year water supply exists before a subdivision can be approved by the City Council.

Mandatory AWS Program
In 2007, the State Legislature adopted two pieces of legislation, House Bill 2672, and Senate Bill 1575 as a “carrot and stick” to provide for increased water management opportunities outside of existing Active Management Areas. The “carrot” (HB 2672) created the Water Resources Development Fund although the Legislature did not provide a funding mechanism.

The companion legislation known as the “stick” (SB 1575), made the provisions within the existing Adequate Water Supply Program mandatory. There are 5 criteria used to determine whether a municipality (or subdivision) has a 100-year water supply. These criteria are: continuously available (infrastructure); legal availability (water right or contract); physical availability (hydrologic study and groundwater computer model); financial capability (money to construct water system); and water quality (adequate treatment works, etc). This legislation gives local jurisdictions, either Counties or Cities, the opportunity to begin mandating that a 100-year water supply must exist prior to the approval of any subdivision. A subdivision is defined by the Arizona Department of Real Estate as a plat that contains six or more individual lots.

There are two provisions of the mandatory Adequate Water Supply Program that are significant to the City of Flagstaff. First, the City has never required a linkage between a final subdivision plat submitted to City Council for approval and the necessary water supply to sustain that development. Second, before the City could support the adoption of these rules, the existing hydrologic criteria associated with the Physical Availability criteria must be modified. Specifically, modifications are needed for the criteria relating to the requirement that the depth to ground water will not decline beyond 1,200 feet below land surface 100-years into the future.

See the Powerpoint Presentation explaining how Water Adequacy could be implemented within the City of Flagstaff – August 2011

City of Flagstaff - Red Gap Ranch AWS Modification
On January 7, 2011, the City of Flagstaff received approval from the ADWR to modify its existing Designation of Adequate Water Supply to include groundwater at Red Gap Ranch. The hydrologic study conducted determined that 16,500 acre-feet/year of groundwater could be withdrawn from Red Gap without significant water level declines.

View the ADWR Decision and Order for Red Gap Ranch.