ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona Gov. Hobbs vetoes Rio Verde Foothills water bill, favors second bill

May 22, 2023, 2:00 PM | Updated: 3:59 pm

(Associated Press Photo)...

(Associated Press Photo)

(Associated Press Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs on Monday vetoed a Rio Verde Foothills water bill, saying she instead favored a second piece of legislation for the rural community near Scottsdale.

HB2441, introduced by Republican Rep. Gail Griffin, would have required cities like Scottsdale to provide water to dependent communities like Rio Verde Foothills unless a permanent alternative was available.

“This bill fails to provide an immediate solution, as it passed without an emergency clause on the eve of a month-long adjournment, which will only cause continued delay,” Hobbs said in her veto letter.

Scottsdale officials also opposed HB2441, saying it unfairly targeted the city and would have forced it to violate their drought management plan.

The other option, HB2561, would create a governmental entity known as a standpipe district to manage water agreements on behalf of the community.

The sponsor of HB2561, Republican Rep. Alexander Kolodin, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday that he was hoping Griffin’s bill would be OK’d by Hobbs but has moved his efforts to his bill.

Kolodin’s bill passed 46-13 in the House on May 10.

“It took [Hobbs] a long time to say no, so I hoped I was a little bit persuasive, but unfortunately she did say no,” Kolodin, who represents Rio Verde Foothills, said.

“Now we have to begin work on getting the other solution through so that we can get these people water in time for summer.”

Rio Verde Foothills has traditionally received water from haulers that purchased potable water from Scottsdale.

The East Valley city’s drought management plan cut off water 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.

“We will not build a resilient Arizona with piecemeal, short-term proposals,” Hobbs said. “Leaders in this state must come together for long-term solutions to address unregulated land development and strengthen our state’s 100-year assured water supply regulations.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Luke Forstner contributed to this report.

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Arizona Gov. Hobbs vetoes Rio Verde Foothills water bill, favors second bill