Maricopa County board votes against creating water district for Rio Verde Foothills

Community risks losing water access at the end of the year
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors denied a plan to set up a special water district for the small unincorporated area of Rio Verde Foothills.
Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 10:22 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- It appears that the possibility of hundreds in the Rio Verde Foothills community losing access to water could soon be a reality. On Wednesday, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously against creating a water district for the neighborhood.

For many years, most of the unincorporated community has been relying on the city of Scottsdale to haul water to their homes. But amid historic water cuts and growing conservation strategies by Valley water districts, the city is discontinuing that service at the end of the year. Arizona’s Family reported that a domestic water improvement project (DWID) could help solve the community’s water woes. Not everyone in the community, however, was on board.

“That doesn’t mean you form a quasi-government, million-dollar operation,” one resident against a DWID said. Many in opposition recommended that EPCOR, a private contractor, 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. However, that solution would take at least two years, leaving uncertainty as the end of the year approaches.

“When I approached the Corporation Commission to inform them about the urgency of the Rio Verde Foothills water issue, they quickly agreed to get involved,” said Supervisor Thomas Galvin, who represents the Rio Verde Foothills and the rest of District 2. “We already know at least one supplier is interested in working with the ACC to provide standpipe water service to RVF residents.”

In a news release, Galvin said the community should work continue to work together and that strong alternatives are still on the table. “Ultimately, my vote to not approve the DWID creates opportunity for a whole community solution to accessible water,” said Galvin. “Along with assistance from the ACC and interest from a regulated water utility provider, a resilient, reliable, relatively affordable water solution is attainable for the entire RVF community.”

In a little over four months, hundreds in the Rio Verde Foothills community are looking at the possibility of not having water.

Elliott Polakoff and Jason Barry contributed to this report through previous coverage.