Rio Verde Foothills residents protest water cuts outside Scottsdale city hall

Residents of Rio Verde Foothills came together on Tuesday night, asking the council to reconsider the decision to stop water hauling.
Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 10:23 PM MST
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SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- People living in Rio Verde Foothills continued their fight for water by holding a protest at Scottsdale City Hall on Tuesday night. On Jan. 1, the city cut off the neighborhood from its water supply, citing the drought. Their water woes were not on the agenda, but folks wanted to make it clear to Mayor David Ortega and councilmembers that they were not dropping this issue.

Residents gathered outside city hall around 4:30 p.m., holding signs during a protest organized by Cody Reim. “My community is beautiful. It’s the most special place in Arizona. And it it doesn’t have water for the people who live there, almost 1,000 homes, it’s going to die,” said Reim.

Another resident, who said she had to shower at the gym, is hoping Scottsdale will help its neighbors. “We’re not looking for a hand out. We’re looking for the right to buy water like anybody else. There’s definitely been like sleepless nights wondering if our family is going to have water. It’s a scary thing,” said Natalie Austin.

Protesters later made their way inside city hall for the Scottsdale City Council’s first meeting of the year. A few residents spoke during public comment, asking the council to reconsider their decision to stop water hauling into Rio Verde Foothills. They’re hoping the city will process water from EPCOR, a Canadian water utility company offering to supply residents with water.

People we spoke to say this is a temporary solution, necessary to survive until EPCOR is up and running on its own in about three years. Some community members raised money for litigation against the City of Scottsdale, hoping to reach a solution.

Now, Republican State Rep. David Cook is supporting Rio Verde Foothills residents. He said government leaders should not treat their constituents this way. “What I’m telling the Scottsdale mayor is, ‘You’ve made this problem my problem, and I’m going to find a solution for those people. So, I hope you’re willing to come along with me,’” said Rep. Cook during a phone interview.

Arizona’s Family contacted Mayor Ortega and council members via email and phone. No one has responded.