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AZ.gov Arizona's Official Website Arizona Water Banking Authority
Arizona Water Banking Authority Arizona Water Banking Authority's Official Web Site
Banking Water Now for Arizona's Future

Key Benefits


Drought Protection
The AWBA protects communities dependent on the CAP by providing a stored reserve of water that can be tapped in future times of drought on the Colorado River
Enhanced Water Management
The AWBA provides the ability to replenish depleted groundwater aquifers with CAP water, thereby helping Arizona meet its groundwater management goals and objectives.
Indian Water Rights Settlements
Indian tribes in Arizona have significant claims to water rights. Often the affected parties negotiate settlements to resolve these claims. The AWBA provides another pool of water to be used in settlements. For instance, credits for stored groundwater can be transferred to a tribe as a component of a settlement.

House Bill 2835 was signed during the 2006 legislative session.  This bill provides the AWBA with additional tools for assisting the State in meeting its firming obligations under the Arizona Water Settlements Act.  The AWBA entered into an agreement in 2007 with the Secretary of the Interior that defines the AWBA’s obligation to firm in times of water shortages.  The Secretarial Agreement also allows the AWBA to enter into separate agreements with Indian communities to develop firming plans that will be used to meet the State’s obligation.
Statewide benefit
Arizona communities along the Colorado River can also benefit. For example, cities in Mohave County may acquire credits through the AWBA for water stored in central Arizona and redeem those credits by diverting water directly from the Colorado River.


Other Services
Water Banking Storage Agreements
Some Arizona entities have expressed an interest in using the AWBA's services to store water they have a legal right to store. While nothing in Title 45 prevents these entities from banking water on their own, it may be more efficient for the AWBA to administer and oversee water banking for individual Arizona entities.
During the 1999 legislative session, A.R.S. ' 45-2401 was amended to recognize a need in the future to provide for the efficient use of all water resources in Arizona and the need for a centralized source of water banking services. A.R.S. '' 45-2423 (powers and duties) were amended to allow the AWBA to perform banking services for specific entities in Arizona, and A.R.S. ' 45-2457 was amended to provide a mechanism for distribution of long-term storage credits earned on behalf of specific Arizona entities.
Long-Term Storage Credit Lending
Since the AWBA's inception, Arizona entities have expressed an interest in borrowing long-term storage credits. Under the 1999 statutory amendments, the AWBA may lend long-term storage credits to any Arizona entity and should be able to receive reasonable compensation for lending credits.
Effluent Recharge
The AWBA Study Commission sought to encourage the beneficial use of effluent without undermining the primary purpose of the AWBA, which is to maximize Arizona's use of Colorado River water by recharging excess CAP water. In an attempt to achieve both, A.R.S. ' 45-2423(B) was amended in the 1999 legislative session to permit the AWBA to store effluent for the same purposes allowed for CAP water but only when all available excess CAP water has been stored or when excess CAP water is not available to the AWBA.

Firming Non-CAP Supplies
Prior to 1999, long-term storage credits accrued with four-cent tax revenues could only be used to firm CAP municipal and industrial (M&I) subcontractors' water supplies in times of shortage or disruption of the CAP system. The 1999 statutory amendments state a need to protect non-CAP surface water supplies. The new law allows the AWBA to determine the amount of four-cent tax generated long-term storage credits needed to firm supplies for CAP M&I subcontractors, and based on that determination, allows the AWBA to use any excess four-cent tax monies to firm supplies for non-CAP M&I surface water users (such as Salt River Project, Maricopa Water District, and Roosevelt Water Conservation District) within the CAP service area.

Interstate Water Storage
The AWBA can contract with authorized entities in California and Nevada to allow these states to annually store unused Colorado River water. The contracting state would pay to store water in Arizona, helping to replenish Arizona's aquifers, and in the future would be able to draw a similar quantity directly from the Colorado River. The program does not involve the sale of any future rights to water, only a specific quantity of unused water.
The AWBA began storing water for the Southern Nevada Water Authority in 2005 pursuant to the Amended Agreement for Interstate Water Banking. Water stored on behalf of Nevada provides a temporary water supply for Nevada allowing time for development of other non-Colorado resources and it provides Arizona additional flexibility to achieve its long-term water management goals.