The Arizona Water Protection Fund (AWPF) is a competitive State grant program that provides an annual source of funding for the development and implementation of measures that will restore, maintain and enhance river and riparian resources throughout Arizona, including projects that benefit fish and wildlife that are dependent on these important resources. The distribution of grant funds from the AWPF is authorized pursuant to A.R.S. § 45-2101 et seq. and is overseen by the Arizona Water Protection Fund Commission. The program is administered through the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

The AWPF supports projects that:

  • Develop or implement on the ground measures that directly maintain, enhance and restore Arizona’s river and riparian resources.
  • Acquire Central Arizona Project water or effluent to restore and maintain river and riparian resources .
  • Conduct innovative river and riparian research.
  • Implement water conservation measures/programs related to the purpose of the AWPF outside of the Arizona Department of Water Resources Active Management Areas.
  • Develop and protect riparian habitats in conjunction with man-made water resource projects, if the project directly or indirectly benefits a river or stream and includes or creates a riparian habitat.

See also: Arizona Revised Statutes: Arizona Water Protection Fund

Rivers, streams and riparian areas are important resources to the people of Arizona. These resources have been significantly impacted from human uses such as industry, recreation and livestock grazing as well as from natural events such as floods, drought and fire. Proper land and watershed management strategies can make a profound difference in the health and economic value of our rivers and riparian ecosystems. To date, the Commission has supported 251 projects and awarded over $50 million toward the restoration, protection and enhancement of river and riparian resources in Arizona. A wide range of projects have been funded including, but not limited to, stream channel restoration, riparian habitat revegetation, wetland creation/restoration, non-native invasive vegetation removal, fencing and other grazing management improvements, watershed and upland restoration, forest thinning, erosion control, and applied ecological research. As a result, Arizona citizens have realized many benefits from these investments through improvements in water quality, in-stream flows/water supplies, biodiversity, fish and wildlife habitat, recreation, flood control and overall watershed health. In addition, important socioeconomic benefits such as jobs and revenue streams are realized by many local communities through the implementation of Arizona Water Protection Fund projects.