ARIZONA STATE SENATE
Fifty-Sixth Legislature, First Regular Session
temporary non-expansion area
Allows the designation of a temporary non-expansion area (TNA) in any location not included in an active management area (AMA) or an irrigation non-expansion area (INA) to be locally initiated by petition by the Director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR), and prescribes petition, public meeting and election processes.
Designation of an AMA
The Director of ADWR may designate an area which is not included within an initial AMA as a subsequent AMA if: 1) active management practices are necessary to preserve the existing supply of groundwater for future needs; 2) land subsidence or fissuring is endangering property or potential groundwater storage capacity; or 3) use of groundwater is resulting in actual or threatened water quality degradation (A.R.S. § 45-412).
A groundwater basin that is not included within an initial AMA may be locally designated as an AMA on petition by 10 percent of the registered voters residing within the boundaries of the proposed AMA. On application for a petition number with the clerk of the board of supervisors or county election officer, the Director of ADWR must transmit a map of the groundwater basin to the county recorder of each county (A.R.S. § 45-415).
Designation of an INA
The Director of ADWR may designate an area which is not included within an AMA as a subsequent INA if: 1) there is insufficient groundwater to provide a reasonably safe supply for irrigation of the cultivated lands in the area at the current rates of withdrawal; and 2) the establishment of an AMA is not necessary (A.R.S. § 45-432).
A subsequent INA may be locally initiated by petition to the Director of ADWR if it is signed by: 1) at least 25 irrigation users of groundwater, or 25 percent of the irrigation users within the boundaries of the groundwater basin or sub-basin specified in the petition; or 2) 10 percent of the registered voters residing within the boundaries of the groundwater basin or sub-basin specified in the petition (A.R.S. § 45-433).
There is no anticipated fiscal impact to the state General Fund associated with this legislation.
1. Allows the designation of a TNA in any location not included in an AMA or an INA to be initiated by petition to the Director of ADWR signed by at least:
a) one-half of the number of irrigation users of groundwater within the boundaries of the groundwater basin or subbasin specified in the petition; and
b) 10 percent of the registered voters residing within the boundaries of the groundwater basin or subbasin specified in the petition as of the most recent report compiled by the county recorder.
2. Requires, if the groundwater basin or subbasin is located in two or more counties, the number of registered voters required to sign the petition to be at least 10 percent of the registered voters residing within the boundaries of the groundwater basin or subbasin, as of the most recent report compiled by the county recorder, within the county in which the plurality of the registered voters in the groundwater basin or subbasin resides.
3. Requires the form of the petition to be substantially similar to an initiative petition.
4. Requires the applicant for such petition to comply with outlined initiative requirements.
5. Requires the duties of the Secretary of State to be performed by the county recorder of the county in which the plurality of registered voters in the groundwater basin or subbasin resides.
6. Prohibits a petition to be accepted more than 180 days after the date of submission of the application for petition.
7. Requires the Director of ADWR, after receiving a petition signed by registered voters, to transmit:
a) the petition to the county recorder of each county in which the groundwater basin or subbasin is located for verification of signatures;
b) a map of the groundwater basin or subbasin to the county recorder of each such county included, on a scale adequate to show with substantial accuracy where the boundaries of the groundwater basin or subbasin cross the boundaries of county voting precincts; and
c) all other factual data to the county recorder concerning the boundaries of the groundwater basin or subbasin that may aid the county recorder in determining which registered voters of the county are residents of the groundwater basin or subbasin.
8. Requires ADWR, on verification that a sufficient number of persons signed the petition in support of establishing a TNA, to hold a meeting.
9. Allows an irrigation user, if procedures are initiated for designating a TNA, to irrigate within the proposed TNA only acres of land that were irrigated at any time during the five years preceding the date of the notice of the initiation of designation procedures.
10. Requires the limitation on the acres that may be irrigated to continue in effect until an election is held.
11. Requires the Director of ADWR, if a petition is filed with a sufficient number of signatures, to hold a public meeting to describe the:
a) boundaries of the proposed TNA; and
b) effect of a TNA if established.
12. Requires the Director of ADWR to give reasonable notice of the meeting, including publishing the notice once each week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in each county in which the proposed TNA is located that includes:
a) the time and place of the meeting;
b) the legal description and a map clearly identifying and describing all lands to be included in the proposed TNA; and
c) any other information deemed necessary.
13. Requires the meeting to be held at a location in the county in which the major portion of the proposed TNA is located at least 60 days after the first publication of the notice of the meeting.
14. Requires the Director of ADWR, at the meeting, to:
a) present any data on groundwater levels for the proposed TNA from ADWR; and
b) describe the effects of the proposed formation of the TNA.
15. Allows any person to appear at the meeting, either in person or by representative, and submit oral or documentary information regarding the proposed action.
16. Requires ADWR to notify the county recorder of each county in which a proposed TNA is located when the meeting is completed.
17. Requires the county recorder to provide notice to the county board of supervisors (BOS).
18. Requires the county BOS to call for an election on the question of designating a TNA with boundaries that are coterminous with boundaries of the groundwater basin or subbasin specified in the petition.
19. Requires the respective counties, if the proposed TNA is located in more than one county, to cooperate to administer the election.
20. Requires, notwithstanding any other law, the election to be conducted as outlined.
21. Requires the election to include only registered voters who reside inside the boundaries of the proposed TNA as eligible voters.
22. Establishes a TNA if a majority of the persons voting on the question approve the formation of the TNA.
23. Requires the Director of ADWR to file a true copy of the map of the TNA in the office of the county recorder of the county or counties in which the TNA is located.
24. Allows a TNA to include more than one groundwater subbasin.
25. Prohibits a TNA to be smaller than a groundwater subbasin or include only a portion of a groundwater subbasin.
26. Allows, if a TNA is established, only acres of land that were irrigated at any time during the five years preceding the date of the notice of initiation of land to be irrigated with groundwater.
27. Prohibits, if a TNA is established, additional lands from being irrigated with groundwater for a period of five years after the date that the TNA is established.
28. Deems, if a TNA is established, land that was not irrigated at any time during this five-year period to have been in irrigation if the Director of ADWR finds that substantial capital investment has been made for the subjugation of the land for an irrigation use, including on-site irrigation distribution facility and a well, the drilling and construction of which were substantially commenced before the date of the notice of the initiation of designation procedures.
29. Prohibits ADWR from issuing a drilling card that authorizes the drilling of a well in the TNA.
30. Allows a person to deepen an existing well or drill or cause to be drilled a replacement well in approximately the same location, a new well that will be used as a recovery well or an exempt well in the TNA if a notice of intention to drill is first filed.
31. Allows, on completion of the five-year period:
a) groundwater to be used to irrigate additional lands; and
b) ADWR to issue a drilling card that authorizes the drilling of a well in the TNA.
32. Requires ADWR to:
a) review the status of groundwater in the TNA;
b) estimate the amount of any change in groundwater levels in the area;
c) submit a report on ADWR's findings to the Governor, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives; and
d) provide a copy of the report to the Secretary of State.
33. Allows the Director of ADWR, if the well to be drilled is located in a TNA, to only record the notice, mail the drilling card that authorizes the drilling of the well and mail written notice of the issuance of the drilling card, if the well is drilled pursuant to outlined rules.
34. Defines irrigation user of groundwater as any person who has withdrawn groundwater to irrigate acres within the proposed TNA at any time in the 10 years preceding when the petition is submitted to initiate designation procedures.
35. Becomes effective on the general effective date.
Governor's Veto Message
The Governor indicates in her veto message that HB 2442 would do little to preserve the groundwater supplies upon which Arizonans rely and falls short of providing rural communities meaningful options to protect their water future.
House Action Senate Action
NREW 1/19/23 DP 6-4-0-0 NREW 2/27/23 DP 4-3-0
3rd Read 2/21/23 31-29-0 3rd Read 4/5/23 16-14-0
Vetoed by the Governor 4/11/23
Prepared by Senate Research
April 11, 2023