When eligible water is stored underground for more than one year, long-term storage credits may be issued. Long-term storage credits are credits earned in the process of storing water. These credits can be recovered in the future to be used for various reasons, including establishing an Assured Water Supply or fulfilling replenishment obligations. Stored water is usually eligible for long-term storage credits when:
- The water cannot reasonably used directly, per A.R.S. § 45-802.01(22)
- The water was not recovered on an annual basis
- The water would not have been naturally recharged within an AMA
An entity that holds both long-term storage credits and the water storage permit from which they were earned may always recover the stored water from within the area of impact of the water storage. Anyone holding long-term storage credits may recover stored water from anywhere within the same Active Management Area (AMA) in which it was stored, so long as:
- Recovery is consistent with the management plan and the goals of the AMA A.R.S. § 45-834.01
- When recovery will occur inside or within three miles of the service area of a city, town, private water company or irrigation district, that city, town, private water company or irrigation district is the person recovering the water or has given consent to the recovery. A.R.S. § 45-834.01
Stored water always maintains the legal character of the original source water, regardless of where it is recovered or how it is used. Thus, if CAP water is stored, no matter where recovery occurs, the water is considered to be CAP water when it is recovered and may be used in any way that CAP water could be used.
A holder of long-term storage credits may assign by grant, gift, sale, lease or exchange all or part of the holder’s long-term storage credits, so long as the stored water would have qualified for long-term storage credits had the assignee stored the water.
A long-term storage account is an account established pursuant to A.R.S. § 45-852.01. Long-term storage credits generated through the storage of water are held for the purpose of subsequent recovery.
The Arizona Revised Statutes regulate the accounting system for the recharge program. The Department has developed an equation for determining each year how much water is available for recovery using information reported to the Department on annual reports. Each AMA maintains the long-term storage accounts for permittees storing water in the AMA. When crediting water to a long-term storage account, the Department may subtract evaporation, transpiration, and a percent that is retained in the aquifer, pursuant to A.R.S. § 45-852.01. Any water recovered annually, transferred or assigned to another person, or used to offset groundwater pumped in excess of the storer’s per capita municipal conservation requirements will not be credited to a long-term storage account.
The amount of each type of water delivered to a USF or a GSF is verified. Physical losses (evaporation, transpiration, overflow, outflow, etc.) are deducted. The cut to the aquifer is deducted as five percent (5%) of the amount stored at a USF or GSF, unless the stored water was:
- Imported into the AMA through the efforts of the storer (0 cut);
- Stored outside an AMA and imported into a groundwater basin through the efforts of the storer (0 cut);
- Effluent stored at a constructed USF (0 cut);
- Effluent stored at a managed USF (50% cut); or
- Effluent stored at a GSF (0 cut)
The remaining amount is then posted to the storer's long-term storage account.