Standpipe for Rio Verde Foothills water service approved, providing long-term solution

Nov 30, 2023, 12:00 PM | Updated: 1:00 pm

The rural community of Rio Verde Foothills has a long-term water solution after a standpipe was app...

The rural community of Rio Verde Foothills has a long-term water solution after a standpipe was approved Nov. 29, 2023. (KTAR News Photo/Jeremy Schnell)

(KTAR News Photo/Jeremy Schnell)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Corporation Commission approved a utility company’s application to construct a standpipe for water service for Rio Verde Foothills on Wednesday, giving the rural community near Scottsdale a long-term solution.

The move gives Rio Verde Foothills a clear water future after years of uncertainty that started when the city of Scottsdale decided to reevaluate their agreement due to increasing drought conditions.

The community, which had relied on Scottsdale for years for its water, has been getting its water hauled in from private companies at high costs since their agreement ended Jan. 1. Some residents had been living on only rainwater since 2023 started.

“This was a local, political and jurisdictional turf fight that was completely unnecessary,” Maricopa County Supervisor Thomas Galvin told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday.

“But I got to give a lot of credit to our staff here at Maricopa County and also to the Corporation Commission.”

Who will provide long-term water for Rio Verde Foothills?

EPCOR, based out of Edmonton, will construct and operate the standpipe.

The company does most of its work out of Canada but had been a leading service name as Rio Verde Foothills worked toward a solution.

The standpipe’s creation will provide water to about 1,000 residents in the unincorporated community.

Construction will take about two years. An interim solution has been in place since June after Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signed Senate Bill 1432.

The bill created a standpipe district that provides water for Rio Verde Foothills, with the help of EPCOR and Scottsdale, through 2025. Galvin is hoping the standpipe will be ready by the start of 2026.

“If that is an issue that will come up on the horizon … that will be something that will need to be addressed,” Galvin said. “But hopefully everything will be able to get done in time.”

Galvin said that Rio Verde Foothills residents are thrilled to have closure on the issue.

“These are folks that I’ve been working with since day one … these are folks are very grateful and very happy and this is the outcome that they wanted,” Galvin said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Balin Overstolz-McNair contributed to this report.

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Standpipe for Rio Verde Foothills water service approved, providing long-term solution