The Rio Verde Foothills (RVF) community contains approximately 2,100 homes as of 2020. An estimated 500 homes are entirely or partially dependent on hauled water, sold and delivered to them by commercial water haulers who have an annual permit with Scottsdale Water, a division of City of Scottsdale, as their source of water. Of these, nearly 65 residents privately purchase and haul their water from Scottsdale Water. There are two water companies in the RVF area, Global Water and EPCOR. Both use groundwater from wells. Global Water has provided a limited supply of intermittent water to our haulers on a monthly basis and is not a guaranteed source of water. EPCOR does not have water to share at this time. In 2016, due to concerns for future viable water options for our community, a group of concerned neighbors started researching how to obtain a long-term, secured source of water. This group met with State, County and City of Scottsdale officials and began to share what they learned with the community. In 2018, community meetings were held and support for forming a Domestic Water Improvement District started. In 2019, a new group of volunteers continued the efforts and created RVF Water Resources Inc., and are dedicating their time and energy to continue these efforts and assist with fundraising, volunteering, financial accountability and transparency. Here are some highlights:
November 1, 2016: Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) met with concerned neighbors. Meeting Notes received from ADWR. "Scottsdale intends to continue serving the water haulers but has notified residents that the City cannot guarantee service in the future and has advised the area residents to obtain a separate water source. Scottsdale has committed to treating and delivering this water through their system."
Spring of 2018: Hundreds of residents attended three different public meetings that were held and generated a significant level of interest as over 300 letters of support were provided from property owners to form an entity to secure a long-term source of water. Maricopa County's Supervisor; Steve Chucri, then Water Attorney, Steve Wene and others spoke. It was through these meetings, with the advice of the Water Attorney, that a Domestic Water Improvement District was eventually determined to be the solution.
February 22, 2019: Neighbors met with Scottsdale Water and discussed water availability, Scottsdale Water's ability to process water if we located a source that could be "wheeled" through CAP and the details on how that might work. From that meeting a letter was obtained in reference to City of Scottsdale’s intentions with regards to water.
July 23, 2019: PROPOSED PETITION SUBMITTED FOR APPROVAL SO SIGNATURES COULD BE COLLECTED. A group of neighbors met with Maricopa County's Deputy Manager: Reid Spaulding, Ombudsman: Andy Linton, and others. At that meeting, questions were submitted for County input as well as a proposed petition for a Domestic Water Improvement District (District)*.
August 23, 2019: A group of neighbors met again with Scottsdale Water. The conversation included, again, Scottsdale Water’s intention, at some point in time in the future, is to require that anyone purchasing water to haul, either for private or commercial use, demonstrate that the water will be used within City of Scottsdale’s service area. We also discussed water availability, Scottsdale Water's ability to process water if we located a source that could be "wheeled" through Central Arizona Project (CAP) and the details on how that might work. Scottsdale stated they want to be a good neighbor and work with us while we create a solution for our community.
August 23, 2019: Maricopa County's Attorney submitted a request for an Opinion from the Arizona Attorney General (AZAG) to define "non-contiguous" and "domestic water delivery system" as is written in A.R.S. Title 48.
October 24th, 2019: A follow-up meeting with Maricopa County in which Reid Spaulding and Andy Linton informed RVF Water Resources Inc. that the County Attorney elevated questions on August 23, 2019 for an Opinion from the AZAG. The efforts to form a District were put on hold by County until the Opinion was received.
January 9th, 2020: Page Gonzales, Chief of Staff for Supervisor Chucri, advised us to reach out to Representative Kavanagh to assist us in obtaining the status of the Opinion from the State and that we may want to look at having him sponsor a Bill to define the items listed in the request for an Opinion.
January 16th, 2020: Rep. Kavanagh submitted House Bill #2439 (HB2439) to clarify both items in Maricopa County Attorney's request for an Opinion from the AZAG, which were to define "noncontiguous" and a "domestic water delivery system." We wanted this for well owners for two reasons:
Numerous residents made it clear in 2018 that they did not want piping to homes but a standpipe, as a domestic water delivery system, like we have today.
Those with wells did NOT want to be included or have to help pay for the cost to obtain a water source and delivery system. This is why we felt it was important, as explained by the Water Attorney at the community meeting in 2018, that we create a noncontiguous District which allows for only those that sign the petition to be in the District.
February 18, 2020: HB2439 unanimously passed the House Natural Resources, Energy & Water Committee Action.
February 24, 2020: HB2439 unanimously passed the House Rules Committee Action.
February 27, 2020: HB2439 was placed on hold until the 2021 Arizona State Legislative Session.
May 11th, 2020: Scottsdale Water sent an updated letter to Supervisor Chucri with their intentions concerning the Rio Verde Foothills. The letter includes that "...at a Drought Contingency Plan Tier 1 or lower, restrictions will occur with our water portfolio. In this situation we will balance available water with our forecast demand and may discontinue allowing water hauling outside of our service area."
June 4th, 2020: EPCOR sent a letter to Supervisor Chucri with their current water status.
August 2020: The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation came out with their 24 Month Study for Lake Mead. The study shows, in the most likely projection, continued Tier Zero conditions in 2022. However, due to hot and dry conditions across the Colorado River basin,the risk of a deeper reduction under Tier One shortage has since increased for 2022.
August 4, 2020: The AZ Attorney General Opinion (I20-011) confirmed that the meaning of "noncontiguous" in A.R.S. 48-902 G means areas whose boundaries are not contiguous to each other, and a District may properly form with internally noncontiguous boundaries. As to the meaning of a "Domestic Water Delivery System" the AZ Attorney General's opinion included that, "Applying the common definition to the facts here, waterworks, such as one or more standpipes, pumps, and wells or connections to other water sources, combined with water haulers delivering the water from the standpipe to the property owners in the district for domestic uses would likely qualify as a “system” for purposes of “domestic water delivery system” and therefore meet the statutory definition in § 48-1011(3)." He also confirmed our intentions to seek approval for a District that would include delivery trucks hauling water from a source to residents; and that it would include a standpipe, a pump, and a well or connection to another water source, but it may not include any other planned improvements.
August 7th, 2020: We sent an email to Maricopa County requesting a meeting in regards to moving forwards with the process to form a District.
August 20th, 2020: Conference call with Deputy Manager: Reid Spaulding, Ombudsman: Andy Linton and Supervisor Chucri's Chief of Staff: Page Gonzales. We, again, submitted our petition, the original was submitted on July 23, 2019, and requested they review it and let us know if County has any issue with it before we start collecting signatures. We also let them know we would be holding a community meeting soon since we have been on hold for over a year and want to be able to update our community and get them involved. We will start the petition drive soon after. As of October 1, 2020, County is finishing up their review of the petition and we hope to have it soon.
September 8th, 2020: An email from Rep. Kavanagh's office was received and advised us that HB2439 was unnecessary due to the AZ Attorney General's Opinion (I20-011).
September 15th, 2020: The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation sent out a Press Release indicating the updated projections that alter the projections in the 24-Month Study for Lake Mead from August 2020.
December 8th, 2020: Community Meeting: City of Scottsdale, Arizona's State Climatologist, Central Arizona Project, Maricopa County, our Attorney and several volunteers presented so residents could have a better understanding of water situation, the background to why a District was the path chosen and the next steps. Community members submitted questions ahead of the meeting that were asked and answered.
December 2020 and January 2021: Over 15 petition signings were held, volunteers answered calls to do presentations to groups of neighbors and go to homes to offer socially distanced signings.
February 9th, 2021: After receiving "consent" from Fountain Hills, Carefree and Scottsdale City/Town Councils, creating the maps showing which parcels would make up the District boundaries and obtaining a Title report on all petitioner's properties, we submitted our Petition to Maricopa County.
February 17th, 2021: Additional information on the consents from Scottsdale and Carefree were provided and Maricopa County showed our Petition as received complete.
March 12th, 2021: We have spoken with our potential water source and they have confirmed they are on track for water availability for Spring 2024. Once the District is formed, we will finally be able to go into discussions with other possible water sources.
March 22, 2021: A letterwas sent to the Board of Supervisors with detailed responses to the opposition's petition against the establishment of the Rio Verde Foothills Domestic Water Improvement District.
April 21st, 2021 at 9:30 a.m.: Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Hearing for the formation of the Rio Verde Foothills Domestic Water Improvement District. The Board of Supervisors postponed their decision to April, then May and finally August.
August 17th, 2021: At the BOS Hearing, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors again postpones the decision on the formation of the District. As of JANUARY 17TH, 2022 - the Board of Supervisors not put the petition, which now has over 560 properties signed for, back on the agenda.
January 13, 2022: A CRITICAL COMMUNITY WATER MEETING was held by the Water Team. Our new District 2 Supervisor, Thomas Galvin, his Chief of Staff - Garth Kamp, Asst. County Manager - Jen Pokorski and Ombudsman - Andy Linton were all invited and did not show. Representative John Kavanagh showed and shared his concerns for our community and the lack of support by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. An informative presentation was provided by petitioners, their Attorney - Jeff Crockett, residents and others. To watch this meeting go to: VIDEO
February 4th, 2022: Supervisor Galvin held two community meetings: One for the Proponents and One for the Opposition. Got to the VIDEO tab - to watch both meetings.