When the nation’s most ambitious state law designed to protect groundwater resources came into being in 1980, a key element of that law was its series of “management plans.”
By design, the Arizona Groundwater Management Act of 1980 would create a series of increasingly rigorous management plans for groundwater users in the state’s five Active Management Areas.
The system as envisioned would assist users working toward achieving their industry’s AMA management goals, with the ultimate goal of reaching “safe yield” in four of the five AMAs – that is, a balance in the AMA in which no more groundwater is being withdrawn than is being replaced annually.
The Arizona Department of Water Resources and its AMA division was created to help users cross that “safe yield” finish line by 2025 through a series of five management plans designed to help users conserve groundwater.
Getting to safe yield is a challenging mission.
To help groundwater users participate in the development of the 5th Management Plans, the Department has devised some useful tools, in addition to the Management Plans themselves.
One new tool that may prove especially helpful is a new “Concepts” web page on the ADWR website that creates a single space for all the concepts and proposals related to the 5th Management Plans in an easy-to-use format.
ADWR’s Active Management Area Director for Management Plans, Natalie Mast, said that groundwater users were having difficulty parsing through the Department’s reports on meetings. The information was there on the ADWR website. But users were having difficulty finding things.
“So we created this page to have one space where all the concepts and proposals related to the 5th Management Plans could be laid out,” said Management Plans Specialist Makenna Welsch, who designed the Concepts page.
Designed to summarize information provided to groundwater users at ADWR’s Management Plans Work Group meetings, the Concepts page separates water users into stakeholder subgroups. The “Agricultural Subgroup” has all the information related to its conservation efforts provided under a single heading. Under its drop-down menu, all the information imparted at ADWR-sponsored meetings is collected under a single heading, including graphics and a comment section for stakeholders.
“One thing we have been working on has been providing means of answering questions, responding to comments,” said Mast. “This new section really does that.”