Arizona Rio Verde Foothills residents win water access battle

Arizona's Verde River
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November 30, 2023 — Residents of Rio Verde Foothills, an unincorporated community east of Scottsdale, Arizona, will finally have water.  Yesterday, the Arizona Corporation Commission approved the construction of a standpipe, ensuring a stable water supply for the community.

Rio Verde Foothills residents depended on Scottsdale for water, but the city halted their access in an attempt to conserve its own water resources following a 21% reduction in Arizona’s water allotment from the Colorado River.  The cutoff led to a prolonged dispute between Rio Verde Foothills and Scottsdale, drawing national attention. In response, Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs signed emergency legislation in June this year, allowing an interim water supply to the area until EPCOR, a Canadian utility company, can establish a permanent solution.

Actual water delivery is still some time away, as EPCOR must plan and construct the necessary infrastructure for the water pipeline.

The Corporation Commission reportsOpens in a new tab.:

EPCOR Water’s Standpipe Service for Rio Verde Foothills.

EPCOR Water Arizona Inc. was authorized to install standpipe water service to Rio Verde Foothills in Maricopa County, a region that recently lost its hauled water service from Scottsdale. The Commissioners weighed several potential service options, varying in cost and infrastructure requirements. EPCOR plans to use surface water from the Verde River, supplementing it if necessary. The Commissioners ordered a cost-of-service analysis to determine the trued-up rate.

All documents relating to this agenda item can be found in the Commission’s online docket at edocket.azcc.govOpens in a new tab. and entering docket number W-01303A-22-0264Opens in a new tab.


The Verde RiverOpens in a new tab., by Jennifer Horn, June 2006.  Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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