Scottsdale Cuts Off Water Supply To Nearby Suburb

The taps are turned off to the Scottsdale, Arizona, suburb of Rio Verde Foothills after the city said that drought conditions mean it cannot spare the water for its neighbor.

The drastic action was instituted earlier this month by the city, which had sold water to approximately 500 to 700 residences in the suburb. The city now claims that it needs to maintain the water for its residents.

Rio Verde dwellers filed suit Thursday against Scottsdale to try and get the water turned back on. In the filing, the suit noted that a water utility business, EPCOR, is attempting to build a facility to supply water to the area.

The company offered to supply water to the Central Arizona Project which would replace that which Scottsdale has provided to Rio Verde. EPCOR also would pay for the city to treat the water it sold to the suburb.

Scottsdale, however, balked at this proposal. The city said it would not work with an outside business to bring water to Rio Verde.

It noted that the suburb is governed by Maricopa County and not the city. Leaders said they repeatedly warned Rio Verde that they are not responsible for its water supply and must work within the municipality’s mandated drought plan.

Water is still being delivered with trucks to the area, though the New York Times reported that residents are doing laundry elsewhere, cutting back on showers, and using paper plates to deal with the crisis.

Rio Verde Foothills is a posh region with home prices ranging from $500,000 up to $2 million. But water to the area, which features a golf course and tennis courts, has now been cut off for two weeks.

The problem originated with the Colorado River, which supplies waters to roughly 40 million people across seven states. The extended drought has been alleviated somewhat by recent California rains, but it’s only a small reprieve.

On New Year’s Day, the Colorado River Tier 2 mandatory water cuts took effect. This resulted in Arizona’s supply from the river being slashed by 21% and is the second year of cutbacks.

Drought conditions covered 57% of the state in 2022, but that figure has improved in recent weeks. However, the latest U.S. Drought Monitor report from last week declared most of southwestern and northern Arizona is still in the grips of abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions.