Watershed Protection

ADEQ helps ensure Arizona’s surface waters are safe for swimming, fishing and other uses. This is done by gathering information, monitoring and focusing on the land uses that can negatively impact surface and groundwater within the state. 

ADEQ also offers assistance through the Water Quality Improvement Grant (WQIG) Program, which allocates money from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) to interested parties for implementation of nonpoint source management and watershed protection. Learn more about the WQIG Program > 

Nonpoint source pollution is non-permitted, non-regulated pollution that comes from many places. Some examples include, but are not limited to:
  • Recreation
  • Domesticated animals
  • Wildlife
  • Agriculture 
  • Trash
  • Onsite/septic waste treatment systems 
  • Abandoned/inactive mines 

ADEQ produces a 5-Year Nonpoint Source Management Plan every five years which will guide and direct ADEQ's activities for the state fiscal years covered in the plan and fulfills the requirements of Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. This describes a comprehensive framework for agency coordination and cooperation including strategies for employing effective management measures and programs to control nonpoint source pollution statewide. The plan also outlines goals that have specific objectives and strategies that will be implemented in order to achieve measurable outcomes over the next five years.

Goals for the 2015 – 2019 Plan:

  • Identify impairments to surface and groundwater quality
  • Prevent and reduce NPS pollution discharges to protect and restore surface or groundwater resources
  • Coordinate efforts of various programs within ADEQ and with other agencies and partners to prevent and reduce NPS impacts to surface and groundwater
  • Evaluate and improve the effectiveness of the nonpoint source pollution program and communicate success


Partnerships are essential to effective watershed management. A watershed partnership is a coalition of community, different people and organizations, working together to address common interests and concerns with a mission to improve the health and enjoyment of their watershed | View Partnerships >