The 1980 Arizona Groundwater Code recognized the need to aggressively manage the state’s finite groundwater resources to support the growing economy. Areas with heavy reliance on mined groundwater were identified and designated as Active Management Areas (AMAs). The five AMAs (Prescott, Phoenix, Pinal, Tucson, and Santa Cruz) are subject to regulation pursuant to the Groundwater Code. Each AMA carries out its programs in a manner consistent with these goals while considering and incorporating the unique character of each AMA and its water users.
In the Phoenix, Prescott, and Tucson AMAs, the primary management goal is safe-yield by the year 2025. Safe-yield is accomplished when no more groundwater is being withdrawn than is being replaced annually.
In the Pinal AMA, where the economy is primarily agricultural, the management goal is to preserve that economy for as long as feasible, while considering the need to preserve groundwater for future non-irrigation uses.
In the Santa Cruz AMA, the management goal is to maintain a safe-yield condition in the AMA and to prevent local water tables from experiencing long-term declines.
Learn more about water use and management in the AMAs.