Scottsdale passes Rio Verde Foothills water proposal, Maricopa County has questions

Feb 21, 2023, 7:00 PM | Updated: 7:03 pm

PHOENIX — The Scottsdale City Council unanimously agreed on a proposed resolution to temporarily supply water to Rio Verde Foothills during a meeting on Tuesday.

The Temporary Water Supply Intergovernmental Agreement would grant the community access to water for two years with an option for a third year.

But, as Councilwoman Tammy Caputi put it, the plane has yet to land.

Maricopa County Supervisor Tom Galvin said in a letter to Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega and the City Council on Tuesday that the county Board of Supervisors had yet to discuss the proposal, but he has questions.

Scottsdale under the proposal would not award more water to Rio Verde Foothills than it historically has and could reduce the amount of water it shares if its access to water diminishes.

The East Valley city said the deal was contingent on it receiving 600 acre-feet of raw water from a third party of which the city would supply 126 acre-feet of water at the Pima Road Filling Station each year. Maricopa County would have to pay $1,000 per month plus $21.25 per 1,000 gallons of potable water.

“We are only an interim solution,” Brian Biesemeyer, director of the Scottsdale Water Resources Department, said. “Whoever the final solution is, this gives them time.”

The agreement needs to be made with Maricopa County, and the county could then contract with water haulers to deliver to Rio Verde.

“I anticipate, however, that my colleagues will share my concerns and questions about the proposed agreement, which will need to be discussed, addressed and rectified, as part of a negotiation process, if the proposal is to move forward,” Galvin wrote in the letter.

“The important items for discussion include: the source of the water, the calculation of the cost for the water and whether it is just and reasonable and what are appropriate limitations on how the water to be secured by the proposed agreement is transported to Rio Verde Foothills residents.”

He concluded the letter by saying he is confident the two parties will come to an agreement.

Rio Verde Foothills historically received water via haulers that purchased potable water from Scottsdale, as the community was not directly serviced by the East Valley city.

Scottsdale’s drought management plan cut off water to the unincorporated community on Jan. 1 in an effort to secure the water supply for its own residents.

Shortages and restrictions on the Colorado River supply caused Scottsdale to be stricter with its resources.

Rio Verde Foothills residents sued Scottsdale in January, wanting water access to be temporarily restored, but a judge rejected their injunction.

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Rio Verde residents expressed gratitude to Scottsdale for moving forward on a solution but stressed the importance of getting it done quickly.

Multiple individuals spoke of using paper cups, bottled and rainwater and flushing the toilet once per day to avoid running out of water.

“We are moving forward and we have to respect number one our residents in Scottsdale and our obligation to every commercial, hospital, school and resident in this city,” Ortega said. “I know a couple city employees who live in Rio Verde … these are people we know.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

File photo of a Phoenix police cruiser at a crime scene....

1 man killed, 2 others critically injured in west Phoenix shooting

Police are investigating a shooting incident that left one person dead and two others in critical condition in west Phoenix on Wednesday.

5 hours ago

(KTAR News Photo)...

KTAR News anchor Jayme West reads to 3rd graders as part of ‘Read to the Final Four’

KTAR News anchor Jayme West read to third graders at Glenn F. Burton Elementary School as part of a Final Four challenge.

6 hours ago

road closed sign...

US 93 reopened after crash closed highway in both directions near Wickenburg

U.S. 93 was closed in both directions near Wickenburg on Wednesday night, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

7 hours ago

Randall Bird, 46, is accused of having sex with a corpse at a Phoenix hospital. (MCSO Mugshot)...

Hospital security guard in Phoenix accused of sexual misconduct with dead body

A hospital security guard in Phoenix was arrested Tuesday after being accused of sexual misconduct with a dead body, authorities said.

10 hours ago

Antonio Alvarez is the subject of a Silver Alert issued out of Phoenix on Nov. 28, 2023....

Subject of Silver Alert found dead in Avondale a week after last being seen

A subject of a Silver Alert was found dead in Avondale on Tuesday, a week after he had last been seen in the Valley.

11 hours ago

Tempe has begun testing its wastewater for common viruses, such as influenza. (Pexels Photo)...

Tempe starts testing wastewater for common viruses, including influenza

Tempe has begun testing its wastewater for common viruses, such as influenza, and vector-borne diseases.

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(KTAR News Graphic)...

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Follow @KTAR923...

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Follow @KTAR923...

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]

Scottsdale passes Rio Verde Foothills water proposal, Maricopa County has questions