PRESS RELEASE | ADEQ Publishes the Arizona Protected Surface Waters List Establishing Cornerstone of Landmark State Surface Water Protection Legislation

PHOENIX (Oct. 29, 2021) – The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) today published the Arizona Protected Surface Waters List (PSWL) called for by landmark surface water protection legislation signed by Governor Doug Ducey on May 5, 2021. House Bill 2691 is the first Arizona-specific water quality protection legislation enacted since the Aquifer Protection Program in 1991.

“When it comes to protecting water, Arizona is leading the nation by example,” said ADEQ Water Quality Division Director Trevor Baggiore. “Publishing the Protected Surface Waters List is a major milestone for surface water quality protection in Arizona and represents the cornerstone of the State program.”  

With ADEQ’s implementation of HB2691 and publication of the PSWL, Arizona has achieved a clear and meaningful surface water protection program that provides Arizonans with certainty about which waters are protected as the decades-long debate about the federal Clean Water Act continues.

Arizona’s PSWL specifies all waters protected by the Clean Water Act and the new State Surface Water Protection Program — 883 rivers, streams and lakes critical for drinking, recreation and fish consumption.

“For the first time in Arizona history, we have a clear picture of every protected surface water in the State,” said ADEQ Water Quality Division Director Trevor Baggiore. “The Protected Surface Waters List and its accompanying interactive map provide clarity and consistency and allow ADEQ to work with facilities, stakeholders and volunteers to protect and monitor water resources that are critical to public health and the environment in Arizona.”

To develop the PSWL, ADEQ completed a comprehensive evaluation of Arizona’s waters to determine which waters are covered under both federal and state jurisdictions — not once, but twice. ADEQ accomplished this complex undertaking, by leveraging advances in science and technology to create a process and several new analytical tools. These efforts enabled ADEQ to necessarily evaluate Arizona waters for federal jurisdiction first based on the 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule, and then again in response to its vacatur in August 2021. 

ADEQ will codify the PSWL in December 2023, following the conclusion of ongoing robust stakeholder dialogue.

More information on the Surface Water Protection Program, including the Protected Surface Waters List and accompanying interactive online map, is available on ADEQ’s website | Surface Water Protection Program >


ADEQ Public Information Officer
602-540-8072 | Email >