Maricopa County Supervisor Thomas Galvin held back-to-back community meetings in Rio Verde Foothills today to listen to residents’ concerns and ideas for a long-term sustainable water solution in the area.
“I told people today that finding a long-term water solution that has reasonably broad community support is my highest priority. Water is a vital resource, and this community is understandably concerned about where they will get their water next year," said Galvin. "I want people in the Rio Verde Foothills to know that I am doing, and will continue to do, everything in my power to ensure residents have access to a consistent, clean, and reliable source of water. My hope is to have a framework for this three months from now."
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.
To address this uncertainty, a group of residents proposed creating a Domestic Water Improvement District, or DWID, which would levy taxes and fees on residents who sign up to pay for and provide water service. The creation of such a district would require the approval of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.
“I hear loud and clear the DWID supporters who are saying, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. They believe a special taxing district is a good idea that would provide the water stability they desperately seek for decades to come, while not mandating it for residents who’d prefer a different approach,” said Galvin. “I also understand the people who feel like more government isn’t the solution, who worry the DWID will have too much power and could negatively impact their way of life. This is not an easy gap to bridge.”
Galvin told residents he is looking for additional options that might win broader support from the community. He says he will continue to meet with residents, local elected officials, water suppliers, and anyone else who might be able to assist with a long-term solution.
“I am not, however, going to be pressured into making a shortsighted decision just to appease the critics. I’m focused on doing what’s right, not what’s easy,” said Galvin. “And oftentimes, the right solution just requires a little bit more deliberation, which takes a bit more time.”