Local Authority to Integrate Water & Land Use Planning

There is a common misperception in Arizona that counties, cities, and towns have little to no authority to manage local water resources. However, local jurisdictions already possess a broad set of authorities for addressing water resources.

This legal memorandum describes the general authorities of Arizona counties and municipalities to regulate land use and the extent to which counties and municipalities may incentivize and/or impose and enforce conditions related to water resources on proposed land uses.

This memorandum supplements the Arizona Growing Water Smart: The Water-Land Use Nexus Guidebook to provide additional information and resources about the existing authorities that Arizona’s county and municipal governments may use to implement the policies and programs described in the Guidebook.

The information provided in this memorandum is for general informational purposes only. This information does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Readers of this memorandum should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to how any particular matter or policy discussed in this memorandum or the Guidebook may relate to a particular town, city, or county.