Scottsdale asks Hobbs to veto Rio Verde Foothills water deal

The City of Scottsdale’s city council sent a letter to Gov. Katie Hobbs on May 17 asking to veto a recent bill that would require the city to sell water to the neighboring unincorporated community, Rio Verde Foothills.

House Bill 2441 passed in the state legislature on May 15, requiring 150 acre-feet of water delivered to 500 homes annually. The city is also not allowed to charge more than $20 per 1,000 gallons of water.

“The City of Scottsdale understands the needs of RVF residents to obtain safe and affordable water and is ready and willing to be a participant of a sensible solution while protecting Scottsdale citizens and resources,” the letter reads.

Scottsdale argues the bill forces them to violate its state-mandated Drought Management Plan, which sought to end water services to individuals outside city limits beginning in Dec. 2022. They also state that the $20 price tag is unreasonable, based upon estimates of up to $40 per 1,000 gallons from EPCOR Utilities, the city’s water management provider.

Rio Verde Foothills was warned about the impending shutoff in November 2022 but has yet to come up with a solution. The two communities have already attempted multiple compromises, but all had fallen through, such as when Maricopa County rejected Rio Verde Foothills’ intergovernmental agreement to have its own citizen-led water board.

EPCOR recently sent an application to the Arizona Corporation Commission for a water standpipe for the community, but it appears the request was sent too late. Current estimates state that it could take up to three years until Rio Verde Foothills would have all necessary infrastructure to have an independent standpipe.

The City of Scottsdale awaits a response from Hobbs, who has yet to act on the bill.

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