Property owners have certain rights to withdraw groundwater as permitted by the Groundwater Code, but in Arizona, property owners do not “own” the groundwater beneath their property.
The Arizona Supreme Court stated in Town of Chino Valley vs City of Prescott, “In the absolute sense, there can be no ownership in seeping and percolating waters until they are reduced to actual possession and control by the person claiming them because of their migratory character. Like wild animals free to roam as they please, they are the property of no one.”
In some ways, the withdrawal of groundwater is like fishing from a boat in a lake. A fisherman does not “own” the fish beneath his boat. The groundwater, like the fish, is a public resource, and the state can regulate its “capture.”