Established with passage of the 1980 Groundwater Management Act (GMA), the Prescott Active Management Area (PrAMA) is one of five areas in the State of Arizona that were identified as being heavily reliant on groundwater use to support residential and economic growth.
A 485 square mile area in central Yavapai County, the PrAMA encompasses the City of Prescott, Town of Prescott Valley, Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe and portions of the Towns of Dewey-Humboldt and Chino Valley and unincorporated areas of Yavapai County.
The Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) is the regulatory authority governing management of groundwater supplies in the PrAMA. Personnel work with municipalities, and local leaders through the Groundwater Users Advisory Council (GUAC) to collaboratively make decisions on the development and implementation of groundwater management plans.
Reaching Safe Yield by 2025 is the PrAMA water management goal. Safe Yield is achieved when the amount of groundwater annually withdrawn is equal to the amount of water annually recharged. In 1999, ADWR issued a groundwater mining declaration (out of safe yield) for the PrAMA.
ADWR collects and analyzes hydrologic data within the PrAMA to evaluate groundwater conditions and determine progress toward reaching Safe Yield.
Large water users, such as municipal providers, submit annual water use reports ADWR. Personnel, in partnership with the Yavapai County Flood Control District and U.S. Geologic Survey, manage an extensive stream gauging network. The state agency also relies on a comprehensive groundwater monitoring network and computer modeling program to collect information.
Most of the groundwater currently pumped in the PrAMA is for municipal use. The shift from predominantly agriculture to predominantly municipal began with passage of the 1980 Groundwater Management Act.
According to the hydrologic data, groundwater use in 1985 was about 25,000 acre/feet when the PrAMA population was around 40,000. By 2017, annual groundwater use had declined to about 22,500 acre/feet with a population of about 130,000, and the PrAMA is trending toward Safe Yield.