Rio Verde Foothills Water Facts
The Rio Verde Foothills has been in the throes of a group attempting to establish a Domestic Water Improvement District, aka “DWID“.
A concern arose after the City of Scottsdale removed a fire hydrant that was utilized by the local water haulers and private citizens to provide hauled water for the residents of the Rio Verde Foothills that did not have a producing, or no water well.
The City of Scottsdale operates a commercial water filling site at Pima and Jomax. The Pima and Jomax site is further than the previously available fill site from a fire hydrant for the residents of the Rio Verde Foothills, however, the City of Scottsdale upgraded the existing commercial site to handle the increased traffic of the Rio Verde Foothills residents as well as improve the site for all commercial water customers of the City of Scottsdale.
Rio Verde Foothills Water Rumors
Rumors abound and the removal of the temporary fill site that turned into panic that the City of Scottsdale was going to discontinue allowing commercial haulers and private haulers of the ability to purchase water from the City of Scottsdale.
A self appointed volunteer group form the Rio Verde Foothills Water Task Force to address the false threat. The RVFWTF, aka “WTF”, then arranged for a meeting with the City of Scottsdale. The meeting was held and it was reported by WTF that the City of Scottsdale had mandated that an “entity” be formed for the City of Scottsdale to do business with. Public meetings were held and the report remained the same from the Rio Verde Foothills Water Task Force that it was paramount to the future ability of commercial and private haulers to purchase water from the City of Scottsdale that they have an “entity”.
Much back and forth discussion was held regarding the form of this “entity”, but it was evident that the WTF group was set on two possible entities, a DWID or a Water Co-op.
Rio Verde Foothills Water Task Force February Meeting
At a meeting in February 2018, a guest speaker was brought in from another group, the Desert Hills/New River group that was in the process of forming a DWID. Their water is supplied by the City of Phoenix and we have later discovered that the City of Scottsdale is aware of their situation however, the Mayor of Scottsdale cited that the Rio Verde Foothills situation is not comparable to their dilemma. The Desert Hills/New River group had hired an attorney to pursue the formation of their DWID.
Also at the meeting was Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri. The WTF was in the process of raising funds to hire the same attorney that Desert Hills/New River had employed. Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri donated $1,500 to the effort to form the DWID.
Rio Verde Foothills Water Task Force March Meeting with Attorney
The WTF provided a public meeting with a presentation by their attorney. In the meeting, the nature and personality of a DWID was revealed. It is basically a Corporate Municipality authorized under Arizona Revised Statutes as a “County Improvement District”. The powers of a DWID are as follows but not limited to:
- Condemnation: the ability to condemn property, all or in part, with compensation
- Annexation: the action of annexing something, especially territory. Common synonyms include: siezure, occupation, invasion, conquest, takeover, appropriation
- Special Assessments: Special assessment is the term used to designate a unique charge that government units, aka municipality or city explained above, can assess against real estate parcels for public projects.
- Ordinance Making Authority: a law, statute or regulation enacted by a Municipal Corporation, aka city as described above.
- Taxation: the DWID has the power to assess taxes via property taxes to property.
- Ability to Borrow Monies: the DWID has the ability to issue bonds and secure financing for improvements, i.e. infrastructure
- Gerrymandering: a unique power of the DWID is the ability to create non-contiguous (not sharing a common boundary line) “pockets”. For example, there could be 10 separate areas within the Rio Verde Foothills that are a part of the DWID, not touching and not geographically near each other to make up the DWID. The only condition is that 51% of the landowners of the parcels contained in the non-contiguous DWIDS agree to be incorporated into the DWID. Now, carry that a step further….so the pockets are created, how to do connect the pockets with infrastructure? Go back to Condemnation and Annexation as explained above….the DWID either condemns a route for the infrastructure or it annexes, adding properties to connect the DWID pockets. If annexed, the property annexed becomes a part of the DWID subject to all the rights of the DWID to; tax, special assessments, and ordinance making authority.
The WTF scheduled another meeting with the City of Scottsdale. The meeting was made public, but the public was not invited to attend. However, a former WTF member and other concerned citizens invited themselves to the meeting. The story changed significantly in eyewitness accounts of the self invited citizens attending.
The Truth of the City of Scottsdale Meeting:
• The City of Scottsdale has never threatened to cut off our water supply
• The City of Scottsdale made improvemtents to the Pima/Jomax location to handle the increased traffic at that location. COS assesses a “use fee” at that location which was amortized over 100 years.
• Mayor Lane stated he was familiar with the circumstances of New River and responded “You are not New River, we have no plans or intentions of shutting you off”.
• Mayor Lane stated the city of Scottsdale will continue to be good neighbors to Rio Verde Foothills area and supply water to us as long as the City of Scottsdale has the water supply (they are currently only using 60% of their current allocation).
• The current process with the haulers is working, i.e., the haulers charge a price acceptable to customers at this time. Any change to this arrangement will raise the cost to customers, as another layer will be added to the cost.
WTF has not denied nor refuted the statements represented above recited by eyewitnesses to the meeting.
There was a subsequent public meeting held that revealed no new information, only that the WTF, when their spokesperson was asked about the mission statement of the WTF, could not answer the question and could not recite the mission statement without help from an attendee in opposition to the DWID.
Since that time, the opposition has organized and is on the forefront of researching other sources of water in addition to the City of Scottsdale, has worked with Global Water Resources to allow an additional commercial hauler to obtain water from their fill site, and is actively meeting with companies that have access to groundwater in other aquifers to provide other water resources not currently available.
Research is ongoing regarding our own aquifer to determine the long term viability and sustainability with increasing demands of water withdrawal and development of the area.
In short, there is no immediate water crisis.. That does not mean that we can idly stand by and assume there would not be a crisis in the future. The data of the aquifer hydrology is limited at best and further ongoing research needs to be conducted.
Defeating the Formation of the DWID
Because of the unique gerrymandering characteristics of the DWID, it can be effectively manipulated to achieve virtually 100% approval by the members involved in the initial formation. (See the link below to the pdf file explaining those characteristics)
However, politicians are politicians……please contact Supervisor Chucri and voice your opposition to the formation of the DWID in advance of the paperwork being submitted. Also, the other County Supervisors will vote on this matter as well.
And, for the record, Supervisor Chucri gave $1,500 to the formation of the DWID at a Feb. 28th 2018 Meeting of the Rio Verde Foothills Water Task Force.
The Other Maricopa County Supervisors
Other Resources for Information
The Rio Verde Foothills Water Facts maintains a Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/173009543324682
The Rio Verde Foothills Water Facts maintains a Website at: https://sites.google.com/site/waterfactsrioverdearizona
To stay abreast of the situation, email us with your contact information so that we can keep you up to date on the efforts. Our email is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Your information will remain confidential. It would be helpful to know your address and/or your APN Number
See the Slideshow for specifically how the DWID could negatively impact your parcel.