Water duties: Arizona’s groundwater management approach

Jacque L. Emel, Muluneh Yitayew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Agricultural water duties have historically been used to settle al- Iocational disputes, adjudicate water basins, size canals, and schedule irrigation. The Arizona Department of Water Resources is now using water duties to reduce demand for groundwater in the management areas of the state. This paper reviews the scientific determinants that the water duty comprises and describes the concept’s implementation in Arizona’s active management areas. The water duty is only one of several approaches to groundwater allocation. New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Nebraska employ approaches that differ considerably from Arizona’s. Arizona’s allocation varies per acre, depending upon a farm’s cropping history. In the other three areas, the allocation is uniform per acre and is more dependent upon supply management goals. Differences in spatial and temporal use flexibility also occur between allocation systems. Each of these differences produces efficiency and equity ramifications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-94
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Water Resources Planning and Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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