City of Scottsdale will no longer bring water to Rio Verde Foothills community

Residents in Rio Verde Foothills community could be without water in less than two weeks after the city says they won't be hauling water to homes.
Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 9:32 PM MST|Updated: Dec. 19, 2022 at 9:51 PM MST
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SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Hundreds of Rio Verde Foothills homes could be without water in less than two weeks. That’s because the City of Scottsdale no longer plans on hauling water to these homes come Jan. 1 as part of its drought management plan.

“You think about having all of your family over,” Rio Verde Foothills resident Meredith DeAngelis said. “And it’s like, not at my house.” DeAngelis is concerned that not just her family but dozens of others in the unincorporated community outside Scottsdale will run out of water at some point in the next few months. “I do think Jan. 1 is gong to come, and we will not have water solved for that short-term plan,” she said.

More than 500 homes in Rio Verde Foothills currently rely on the city of Scottsdale to haul water to them. But earlier this month, Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega declared that his city comes before Rio Verde Foothills. In a written statement, Ortega said, “There is no Santa Claus. The mega drought tells us all water is NOT a compassion game.”

“I can’t believe a mayor would be so cruel to say that to so many people,” DeAngelis said. “People that have been working really hard to try and find a solution and feel helpless.”

A proposal to create a domestic water improvement district (DWID) was dismissed by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors back in August, though an appeal is currently being reviewed. There’s also a private Canadian-based water utility company EPCOR that has said it’s willing to be the community’s water source but will take three years to get up and running. “EPCOR was trying to negotiate a temporary water supply with Scottsdale,” said Rio Verde Foothills resident Jennifer Simpson. “But Scottsdale doesn’t want to play that way, it seems.”

Dynasty Water, a local water hauling company, has been trying to buy a year’s worth of water supply from the San Carlos Apache tribe as a temporary solution. But that still needs approval from multiple federal and tribal agencies.

Without a definitive solution, there’s not much for DeAngelis to celebrate this New Year. “To think every time you flush a toilet, take a shower, that Jan. 1 that’s not a reality when there are options,” she said. “They’re just not open to working with us. It’s really frustrating.”