Supervisor Galvin Emphasizes a Whole Community Solution to Rio Verde Foothills Water Issue
The Board of Supervisors listened to the majority of residents in the Rio Verde Foothills in voting today not to create a special taxing district to manage water delivery in the community. The Board voted unanimously against a proposed Domestic Water Improvement District (DWID). This keeps other potential alternatives on the table, including the effort to find a permanent water supplier that is accountable to the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC).
“When I approached the Corporation Commission to inform them about the urgency of the Rio Verde Foothills water issue, they quickly agreed to get involved [see docket #W-00000A-22-0194],” said Supervisor Thomas Galvin, who represents the Rio Verde Foothills and the rest of District 2. “We already know at least one supplier is interested in working with the ACC to provide standpipe water service to RVF residents.”
Since the Rio Verde Foothills is unincorporated, residents don’t automatically get water service from a city or town. The County is not a water provider, so the people of the Rio Verde Foothills have had to find other sources of water. Some have wells. Some use private utilities. Others rely on hauled water, much of which comes from the City of Scottsdale. Scottsdale’s current drought management plan calls for an end of water service to those outside Scottsdale city limits starting in December 2022.
In response, a group of residents proposed creating a Domestic Water Improvement District, or DWID, which would levy taxes and fees on Rio Verde Foothills residents who sign up for water service. However, in researching the proposal, the County found that of the 4,200 parcels of land in the area, only 550 supported the DWID and nearly 40% of the supporting parcels were vacant. Furthermore, opposition to an additional governmental entity with condemnation authority that potentially affects private property rights caused serious concerns in the community. And limiting access to standpipe water to just DWID participants deeply troubled several residents, noted Galvin.
“I really respect the work that went into proposing the DWID. I believe supporters of that option want to do what’s right for their community,” said Galvin. “However, I do not believe that option promotes the convenience, necessity and welfare for the whole community. There are alternatives that benefit everyone.”
Galvin continues to emphasize the idea that the community should work together. “Ultimately, my vote to not approve the DWID creates opportunity for a whole community solution to accessible water,” said Galvin. “Along with assistance from the ACC and interest from a regulated water utility provider, a resilient, reliable, relatively affordable water solution is attainable for the entire RVF community.”