A: Individuals and entities seeking to claim a grandfathered right are required to apply for a certificate of grandfathered right no later than fifteen months after the date of the designation of the AMA (by March 1, 2024), in accordance with A.R.S. § 45-476.
Grandfathered rights are withdrawal rights based on historic pumping (the five-year period preceding the call for the election or the five-year period preceding the designation of the AMA, depending on the type of right).
The three types of grandfathered rights are:
1. Irrigation Grandfathered Rights, which allows the holder to irrigate acres of land that had been irrigated within the five-year time period preceding the call for the election. Land without an Irrigation Grandfathered Right may not be irrigated with groundwater. An Irrigation Grandfathered Right may not be sold apart from the associated land.
2. Type 1 Non-Irrigation Grandfathered Rights, which is associated with land permanently retired from farming and converted to a non-irrigation use: e.g., building a new industrial plant or a subdivision. This right, like an Irrigation Grandfathered Right, may be conveyed only with the land. The maximum amount of groundwater that may be pumped each year using a Type 1 right is three acre-feet per acre, though it may be less.
3. Type 2 Non-Irrigation Grandfathered Rights, which can only be used for a non-irrigation purpose. The right is based on historical pumping of groundwater for a non-irrigation use and equals the maximum amount pumped in any one year in the five-year period preceding the designation of the AMA. Examples of non-irrigation uses include industry, livestock watering and golf courses. Type 2 rights are the most flexible because they may be sold separately from the land or well. In addition, the owner of a Type 2 right may, with ADWR approval, withdraw groundwater from a new location within the same AMA. It is possible to lease a portion of a Type 2 right, but if the right is sold, it may not be divided; instead, the entire right must be sold.
Cities, towns, private water companies and irrigation districts are required to obtain a service area right to withdraw groundwater for delivery to landowners and residents within their service area.
Groundwater withdrawal permits may be obtained through application to ADWR if certain criteria are met. Groundwater withdrawal permits allow pumping in specific circumstances, usually for non-irrigation uses, that are set forth in statute. These permits are for a limited period of time. Examples include the following:
• Hydrologic testing permits
• Poor quality groundwater withdrawal permits
• Temporary permits for electrical energy generation in emergency situations
• Mineral extraction and metallurgical processing permits
• Drainage and dewatering permits
• General industrial use permits