Lessons from the Past: What Changes to Arizona’s Adjudication and Surface Water Statutes Will Survive Constitutional Review?

In 1995, the Arizona Legislature amended the state's adjudication statutes and other statutes that underlie surface water rights in Arizona. Those amendments led to five years of legal challenges that all but derailed the adjudication proceedings. In the end, the state Supreme Court ruled that most of the amendments were unconstitutional.

The Legislature is again considering several measures that would impact surface water rights and the adjudications. To help inform the discussion of these proposals, the Kyl Center for Water Policy offers this analysis of what happened with the 1995 amendments.