The Arizona Water Banking Authority (AWBA) was established in 1996. Two key pieces of legislation in 1986 and 1994 established the regulatory framework for underground water storage and recovery, making the creation of the AWBA possible.


1986 – The Arizona Legislature established the Underground Water Storage and Recovery Program to allow entities to store water underground and recover (pump) it at a later time.

1994 – The Legislature enacted the Underground Water Storage, Savings, and Replenishment Act, a comprehensive program that streamlined and consolidated various types of recharge projects that emerged after 1986. It encouraged the use of renewable water supplies, particularly this state's entitlement to the Colorado river water, instead of groundwater, through the underground storage, savings and replenishment of water. A.R.S. § 45-801.01

1996 – The Legislature established the AWBA, effective April 30, 1996.

1998 – The Arizona Water Banking Study Commission issued a Final Report that describes the findings and recommendations of the committee.
1999 –The AWBA’s enabling legislation is expanded based on the recommendations of the Arizona Water Banking Study Commission’s 1998 Final Report. The legislation allows the AWBA to perform water banking services for Arizona entities, which includes loaning previously developed long term storage credits and/or storing water on their behalf. It also gave the AWBA the authority to supplement storage of Central Arizona Project (CAP) water with effluent and/or other surface water supplies.

1999 – The Secretary of the Interior adopts regulations providing for “Off-stream storage of Colorado River water and Development and Release of Intentionally Created Unused Apportionment in the Lower Division States”, which enables interstate water banking in the Lower Colorado River Basin.

2001 – The AWBA entered into an agreement with Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) and the Colorado River Commission of Nevada (CRCN) for interstate water banking on behalf of Nevada.

2002 – The AWBA adopted Resolution 2002-1 prioritizing the use of long-term storage credits accrued with General Fund appropriations for the purpose of firming Fourth Priority on-River M&I users.

2004 – The Arizona Water Settlement Act (AWSA) was signed into law by Congress. The AWSA obligated the State of Arizona to firm delivery of up to 23,724 acre-feet of non-Indian agricultural (NIA) priority CAP water reallocated to Indian tribes under the AWSA for a 100-year period (until 2108) to the same level that deliveries of CAP Municipal and Industrial (M&I) priority water is firmed during shortages.
2006 – The Indian Firming Study Commission (IFSC) issued a Final Report that describes and evaluates the State’s obligations under the AWSA. In the same year, House Bill 2863 established an Indian Firming Program based on the recommendations of the IFSC and identified the AWBA as the agent for the State to meet its Indian firming obligations under the AWSA.

2008 – The AWBA executed Resolution 2008-1 establishing a long-term storage credit replacement account for Fourth Priority mainstream Colorado River M&I users.

2010 – The AWBA executed Resolution 2010-1 to establish the procedures for on-River contractors to enter into an agreement with the AWBA for firming.

2014 – The Legislature authorized the AWBA to purchase long-term storage credits created by others. Credits may be purchased after all available excess CAP water supplies have been scheduled for storage.
2014 - The “Recovery of Water Stored by the Arizona Water Banking Authority: A Joint Plan by AWBA, ADWR and CAP” is released. The recovery plan describes the methods for future recovery of AWBA long-term storage credits.

2015 – The Legislature extends Central Arizona Water Conservation District's (CAWCD) authority to levy and collect the ad valorem water storage tax within its three-county service area beyond 2016 to 2030.

2015 – The AWBA and Gila River Indian Community entered into an intergovernmental agreement establishing the annual procedures to ensure the State’s firming obligations to the Community are satisfied.

2019 – Governor Ducey signed legislation authorizing Arizona’s participation in the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan (LBDCP) and Federal legislation was signed authorizing both the Upper Basin and Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plans. The AWBA plays an important role in Arizona’s plan for implementing the LBDCP.