The general stream adjudication is a judicial proceeding to determine the nature, extent and relative priority of water rights in Arizona. See Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) §§ 45-251 to 45-264. There are two general stream adjudications in the state, the Gila River System and Source (Gila Adjudication) and the Little Colorado River System and Source (LCR Adjudication). The exterior boundaries of these two adjudications include more than half the state, where most of the Indian reservations and federal land are located. Click here to see a Map of Adjudicated Areas in Arizona.
Thousands of claimants and water users are joined in these proceedings that will result in the Superior Court issuing a comprehensive final decree of water rights for both river systems. There are over 39,000 parties in the Gila Adjudication and over 6,000 parties in the LCR Adjudication. A party is a person or entity that has filed one or more claims to water rights in the adjudication (Statement of Claimant or SOC). On behalf of federal non-Indian lands alone, the United States has filed over 15,000 claims.
As required by statute, ADWR provides technical and administrative support to the adjudication court and Special Master, “...in all aspects of the general adjudication with respect to which the director possesses hydrological or other expertise.” A.R.S. § 45-256(A). The Adjudications Program is tasked with providing technical support for the adjudication through the investigations of claims for water rights and preparation of technical reports. ADWR’s Legal Division represents the Department before the adjudication court and the Special Master, assists with the preparation of technical reports and provides information as requested.
Click Gila River and Little Colorado River General Stream Adjudications for more information.
ADWR maintains a Central Information Repository for data, reports and other information related to the adjudications, which contains thousands of documents. This information is available to the public and to the parties.