Emotions strong at latest Rio Verde Foothills water meeting

In a little over four months, hundreds in the Rio Verde Foothills community are looking at the possibility of not having water.
Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 5:54 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- In a little over four months, hundreds in the Rio Verde Foothills community are looking at the possibility of not having water.

Several in this unincorporated community have been relying on the city of Scottsdale to haul water to their homes. But Scottsdale is discontinuing this service at the end of the year as part of its water conservation strategy.

The debate moving forward relates to whether or not a domestic water improvement project (DWID), which would provide water from other parts of the state, is the solution to the area’s water problems.“That currently is the only solution that can make sure I have water in my home for January,” Rio Verde Foothills resident Meredith Deangelis said.

As the countdown to 2023 gets closer, it’s hard for Deangelis to avoid imagining a life without water.

“You wake up every single day when you brush your teeth and that’s all you can think about,” she said.

Deangelis isn’t the only one that feels this way.

“You have an opportunity to bring in an outside water source from the Harquehala Valley that has been set aside by the state specifically for these reasons,” another resident said at today’s community meeting. “If we fail this opportunity, it’s gone”.

But other Rio Verde Foothills residents don’t want to rely on the state for water.

“That doesn’t mean you form a quasi-government, million-dollar operation,” one resident against a DWID said.

Many who oppose the DWID would rather rely on a private company called EPCOR to drill wells on existing Rio Verde Foothills Land. “As a huge company, they have the ability to work through all of the issues,” resident Christy Jackman said.

One of those issues is that EPCOR says getting their services up and running in the Rio Verde Foothills would take at least two years. That’s a long period of uncertainty and has some newer residents to the Foothills feeling like they signed up for a raw deal.

“Never would have bought had I been told that this kind of issue was going on,” one resident said. “It was not disclosed to us by the seller.”

That’s something that District supervisor Thomas Galvin hopes to change through new legislation moving forward.

“A lot of these situations and circumstances were thrust upon you guys,” Galvin said. “And they’re not your fault.”

A Maricopa County Board of Supervisors vote on the DWID will take place on Wednesday.