Outstanding Water Quality

Water is the only reason we have the privilege to live and work in the beautiful American Southwest. It is a common need for millions of people from cities to rural areas, diverse wildlife species, and entire ecosystems that unite all living and non-living systems. Our priority as a conservation organization is to maintain the balance between these systems for the benefit of both wildlife and people, for generations to come. Beginning in 2019, AWF will work to protect the quality of Arizona’s waterways through a program called Outstanding Arizona Waters (OAW), which is overseen by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ).
Outstanding Arizona Waters are rivers and streams with exceptional ecological and recreational significance, and receive the highest level of protection under the Clean Water Act. ADEQ must decide which waterways in Arizona qualify for OAW nomination. Anyone can submit a proposal to the director of ADEQ for a river or stream to receive this special protection. To learn how, visit the links below.

The criteria for nominating any surface water as an OAW are found on page 11-12 of the Arizona Administrative code. Current accepted water quality standards are on pages 16-22.

All OAW nominations must meet or exceed current accepted water quality standards.

Please contact Arizona Wildlife Federation with any further questions about the OAW program and for any assistance you may need in the process.