Rare Rulemaking Initiated by Arizona Department of Water Resources

by Fred Breedlove

The Arizona Department of Water Resources (“ADWR”) announced on September 18, 2021 that it had initiated a rulemaking for three subject areas:  licensing timeframes, well construction and licensing, and dam safety.  Overall, the proposed changes are mostly non-substantive in nature; however, new additions to ADWR’s licensing timeframes (“LTFs”) are welcome changes for permittees and water law practitioners.

Arizona state agencies are required by statute, A.R.S. § 4-1073, to have rules in place that essentially give the agencies deadlines by which it must grant or deny a license that has been applied for.  Most practitioners of Arizona water law, however, have run into situations where ADWR does not have an LTF in place (e.g., an application for approval of a development plan to retire an irrigation grandfathered right for a Type 1 non-irrigation grandfathered right).  Other proposed LTFs include:

  • Application for assignment of Type A and Type B certificates of assured water supply;
  • Application for a letter stating that owner is not required to obtain a certificate of assured water supply pursuant to A.A.C. § R12-15-704(M); and
  • Application for extinguishment of grandfathered right for extinguishment credits.

A full list of the applications that are proposed to receive new LTFs are included in the Notice of Proposed Expedited Rulemaking.

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