Who relies on hauled water in our community?
Roughly 500 residences in the Rio Verde Foothills (RVF) rely solely on hauled water from the City of Scottsdale via commercial water haulers or hauling themselves. This number does not include those on wells - private or shared, that rely on hauled water as back up when they have a well issue, need a rare supplement or need to fill their pool.
Why do some properties rely on hauled water?
What is the definition per Arizona Revised Statute for a Domestic Water Improvement District (District)?
"Domestic water improvement district" means a county improvement district that is formed for the purpose of constructing or improving a domestic water delivery system or purchasing an existing domestic water delivery system and, if necessary, making improvements to the system per A.R.S. 48-1011.
Why was a District decided on in 2018 after the Community Meeting?
How is a District formed?
The method of forming a District is strictly set in the Arizona Revised Statute for County Improvement Districts and Domestic Water Improvement Districts under A.R.S. 48 Chapter 6. Here are some highlights of the process:
If I do not sign the petition, will this affect my property taxes?
No. You will not be part of the District and will not be taxed. (The current cost estimates for the District is accomplished with no property tax to its members.)
What are the District boundaries?
Since only a portion of our community has a need for hauled water, our intention, as we have expressed to Deputy Maricopa County Manager: Reid Spaulding, Maricopa County Supervisor; Steve Chucri and his Chief of Staff; Page Gonzales and AZ House Representative; John Kavanagh are:
How does one become a District Board member?
The Initial Board members will be included on the Petition. Thereafter, Board members are elected every two years. Those that would like to run to be on the Board may do so if they are a member, are registered to vote in Arizona and own property within the District.
How is the District funded?
If revenues from water sales are not enough to fund District operations, then the District has the authority to apply for grants, obtain loans and charge fees and/or levy taxes. There are loan and grant options for Districts, including some that are not available for Co-ops/Private Companies. Bonds are another option.
Does a Board member get paid a salary?
No. Each Board member may get paid a maximum of $75 for each board meeting attended with a maximum of four meetings per calendar month. They may also receive reimbursement for necessary expenses while engaged in official business of the district as authorized by the board. (A.R.S. 48-1013)
Once a District is formed, who determines rates and when/how they may increase?
Each year the District Board must prepare annual statements and estimates of expenses and budgets for the District, publish a notice to the public, hold hearings and adopt the budget at the times and in the manner provided for county statements and estimates by Arizona Revised Statutes Title 42, Chapter 17, Article 3. This is the same time frame and process required for cities and towns. A vote is not required, but a public hearing must be held and residents within the District have the right to question and discuss the proposed budget and any charges resulting from the budget. Rate increases are determined to help cover administrative expenses, avoid shortfall in revenues, and to minimize the need for additional assessment or tax levy.
Can my parcel be in the District if I am within the service area of EPCOR or Global Water Resources?
No. These areas which include Granite Mountain, Rio Mountain Estates, Trilogy, Tonto Verde and Rio Verde at the bottom of the hill may not be part of the District.
Can a District cap the well(s) of a property owner within or outside the District boundaries?
No, the District has no authority to cap your well, within or outside its boundaries. A District can cap a well it owns, for example: The District well dried up and needed to be "capped".
Based on input from neighbors on shared wells, the Rio Verde Foothills Domestic Water Improvement District may include members on shared wells or water tanks based on one of the two options.
Will there be a water tower? (Yes, these are real questions from our community.)
I was told that it was determined that there is no water source for the District to purchase.
There are sources of water for various amounts of time (1 year to 100 year supply) available, as of July, 2021, for purchase.
I heard that the volunteers had given up on these efforts and were no longer moving forward.
The current team, recruited by the prior volunteers, came on board in 2019, worked with prior members on how to form a District and eventually became the current volunteers continuing the efforts the prior group started. We are a determined group of neighbors and have been working on this continually and definitely have not given up. Please go to our HISTORY page for the timeline. A copy of the Petition can be read under the "Petition" tab above.
I have been told the District will be able to "annex" properties of Rio Verde Foothills into the District against their will, is this true?
For a water District:
A.R.S. 48-906 ADDITION OR ELIMINATION OF CERTAIN AREAS. This does not use the word annexation but describes how “persons owning property” could “petition” to be added or removed and the process.
NOTE: Most water districts limit the frequency in which additions can be petitioned for due to the complexity of the process. The petition approval would depend on the availability of water for those that want to be added after formation.
Can I join the District later?
The DWID will allow for residents to petition to have their parcel added to the DWID. Due to the lengthy petition process, the actual petition process is limited to once a year.
Since properties will have the need to be included in the DWID at any time of the year due to numerous situations, the DWID team understands that it is crucial to provide for this. An interim process will be available to bridge the gap between when a property would need to start receiving water and the annual petition. This may be critical for a number of situations including:
It is also important to understand that the DWID is purchasing 33% more water than the entire community uses so water is available for non-members.
What if the District does not have a sufficient amount of water to allow for addition of new parcels?
At that time, if there were enough new parcels wanting to join the District, the District could consider securing an additional source of water, if available, for the additional parcels.
Can I remove my parcel from the District?
Once land is included in a domestic water improvement district, that land may not be removed unless approved by the district’s governing board. Pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes § 48-906(D), a landowner seeking deletion of land from the district must file a petition explaining the “necessity” for the deletion and showing that the “public convenience, necessity or welfare will be promoted” by the deletion. Whether a requested deletion is in the public interest is determined by the district’s governing board based upon the facts and circumstances surrounding the request, taking into account the impact on the district as a whole. In order to demonstrate that the deletion of land would promote the public convenience, necessity and welfare, the landowner would need to make a compelling case.
Will the cost of water go up?
The final cost will depend on the source of water, transportation, processing, etc. Since the Board of Supervisors has denied the petition, IF the appeal overturns the decision of the Board of Supervisors, a new cost estimate will be produced with the current INCREASED costs of water and interest rates.
Does a District have the power to tax properties of members?
Yes, a District has the right to tax parcels of the District. The District does not have authority to tax non-members. The District cost estimate has no property tax and instead has an annual fee. Go to the "Cost Est." tab above.
Condemnation - What is it?
Here is a simplified version of how condemnation works:
Condemnation is the procedural process of confiscation of private property for a public use and is legally permissible through the power of eminent domain, so long as the government provides payment of just compensation to the Owner for the private land being seized. In Arizona; the State, Counties, all cities, governmental agencies and a person have this authority. For more details on the process of condemnation go to A.R.S. 12-1111 to 1116.
When might a District use this power? The RVF District will need to lay a pipe to connect the standpipe to the City of Scottsdale. Through our research, there are utility easements along the public access roads. Since the Arizona Department of Transportation requires the fill station to have public access, those existing utility easements will most likely be used for the piping. If not, the District would have the right to ask for an easement to allow the connection.
I have a good working well, will I have to join?
NO PROPERTY IS REQUIRED TO JOIN. Only those properties whose owner signs the petition will be included in the District. Some well owners are joining the District to have a secure source of water for the future, a backup source of water for well issues, a pool fill, construction, etc.
Where would the fill station be?
First, it is not possible at this point to know where the fill station will be.
The first step would be for the District to be approved. Then the Board would create a committee made of members who are residents of the Rio Verde Foothills to focus on working with the City of Scottsdale and determining a location for the fill station.
What is the cost to build the fill station?
Once the District is approved, the bidding process for the fill station would determine the final costs.
To get an estimate of costs we should expect, we obtained a cost estimate for 3 turnkey bulk water dispensing stations. The total cost of these as of April 2021 was $160,000. Including land and the full build out, we estimate the combined cost will be approximately $1,500,000 to $2,000,000. The cost to connect to Scottsdale’s water line is undetermined. There are current plans bringing the water line closer to 136th St. which should lower costs significantly.
Who would manage the District and how would they be paid?
Board members do not receive a salary but may receive up to $75 per board meeting. They often volunteer their time to assist on getting work done, making & answering calls/emails and keeping expenses down. Remember that a District is by residents for residents.
The District would not have employees as it is a simple standpipe only District. These are the following positions that would need to be contracted for:
*Total combined annual cost for all 5 Board Members based on 2 board meetings a month is $9,000.
We have talked with other Districts and several have been blessed with members who have stepped up to assist with these needs or have been contracted to do so.
Will the District have a water conservation and drought contingency plan?
Yes. The Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) requires all water providers to have a water conservation and drought contingency plan.
How much water is currently hauled?
The exact amount is unknown. Scottsdale provided these hauled water totals in January 2022:
Year Gallons Acre-ft Average month (gallons)
It is not known how much of this water was delivered to the Rio Verde Foothills. Global Water Resources also intermittently supplements up to 1,000,000 gallons of water per month to our commercial haulers from our aquifer. There have been months where this water is not available.
What impacts the demand and dependence on hauled water in the RVF area?
Water is increasingly becoming a more precious commodity as the drought continues, the water shortage increases and cities/communities expand. Other rural communities who do not currently have a long term source of water are or will be seeking a source of water and the supply and the suppliers are limited. It is advantageous to be prepared to move forward in a timely manner in order to secure a water source. However, until the District is formed, we cannot negotiate for water, nor do business directly with Central Arizona Project (CAP), Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona, and other entities. We have been meeting with numerous officials within State and local governments, as well as engineers, water brokers and more in pursuit of this goal. We will provide more information as we move forward.
* "Domestic water improvement district" means a county improvement district that is formed for the purpose of constructing or improving a domestic water delivery system or purchasing an existing domestic water delivery system and, if necessary, making improvements to the system per A.R.S. 48-1011.
Who are the Directors of RVF Water Resources Inc., a Nonprofit Corporation set up to help with fundraising, accountability and transparency?
Your neighbors: Jennifer Simpson, John Jouas and Karen Nabity
NOTE: Donations are not tax deductible.