Arizona Water Rights Fact Sheet
Arizona's water law is based on the doctrine of prior appropriation, but it is administered based on a bifurcated system where surface water is regulated separately from ground water. There are basically four categories of water supplies available in Arizona: Colorado River water, surface water other than Colorado River water, ground water, and effluent. Each water supply is managed in a different manner. Colorado River water is allocated through the law of the river and Arizona's water banking program, surface water rights are based on "first in time, first in right," and groundwater rights vary depending on location. The Arizona water code is located in Title 45 of the Arizona Revised Statutes. Published by ADWR. View Document.