Arizona city cuts off a neighborhood’s water supply amid drought

“Rose Law Group’s Thomas Galvin, a county supervisor who represents the Rio Verde Foothills and Scottsdale, is advocating for his proposal that EPCOR pay Scottsdale to deliver water to the Rio Verde Foothills despite Mayor David Ortega’s refusal to listen to any sort of deal.” || YouTube

By Joshua Partlow || The Washington Post  Updated January 16, 2023 

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The survival — or at least the basic sustenance — of hundreds in a desert community amid the horse ranches and golf courses outside Phoenix now rests on a 54-year-old man with a plastic bucket of quarters.

John Hornewer picked up a quarter and put it in the slot. The lone water hose at a remote public filling station sputtered to life and splashed 73 gallons into the steel tank of Hornewer’s water hauling truck. After two minutes, it stopped. Hornewer, one of two main suppliers responsible for delivering water to a community of more than 2,000 homes known as Rio Verde Foothills, fished out another quarter.

“It so shouldn’t be like this,” Hornewer said.

Some living here amid the cactus and creosote bushes see themselves as the first domino to fall as the Colorado River tips further into crisis. On Jan. 1, the city of Scottsdale, which gets the majority of its water from the Colorado River, cut off Rio Verde Foothills from the municipal water supply that it has relied on for decades. The result is a disorienting and frightening lack of certainty about how residents will find enough water as their tanks run down in coming weeks, with a bitter political feud impacting possible solutions.

The city’s decision — and the failure to find a dependable alternative — has forced water haulers like Hornewer to scour distant towns for any available gallons. About a quarter of the homes in Rio Verde Foothills, a checkerboard of one-acre lots linked by dirt roads in an unincorporated part of Maricopa County, rely on water from a municipal pipe hauled by trucks. Since the cutoff, their water prices have nearly tripled. The others have wells, though many of these have gone dry as the water table has fallen by hundreds of feet in some places after years of drought.


“This is a real hard slap in the face to everybody. “It’s not sustainable. We’re not going to make it through a summer like this.”

Rio Verde resident John Hornewer

[RELATED] Officials fear ‘complete doomsday scenario’ for drought-stricken Colorado River


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January 2023