Arizona’s Groundwater Management Act: 40 years of protecting our precious water supply

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Forty years ago, on June 12, 1980, former Arizona Governor and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt signed the Groundwater Management Act (GMA) into law. This was a truly historic moment in Arizona’s history. It was also intimately tied to Central Arizona Project’s history, since its passage helped ensure federal appropriations for CAP’s completion.

In addition, the GMA:

  • Created the Arizona Department of Water Resources
  • Established Active Management Areas covering 25% of the state’s land mass, but more than 80% of its population
  • Imposed groundwater regulations
  • Set long-range water management goals including Safe Yield for more populated areas
  • Required an Assured Water Supply for consumer protection and sound water management

The comprehensive water management framework set up by the GMA has been critical to the prosperity Arizona has enjoyed for the last 40 years.

“CAP is proud that our renewable water supply has contributed to Arizona’s success,” says Lisa Atkins, Central Arizona Water Conservation District president. “And we congratulate ADWR on four decades of excellence!”

The CAWCD board celebrated this milestone at its June board meeting, including a special video message from former Governor Babbitt. To learn more about his and others’ contributions to Arizona’s water history, visit CAP’s oral history page.

Photo credit: AMWUA