During the September Contingency Open Meeting Commissioners heard from EPCOR Water Arizona (EPCOR) and other impacted parties about potential water solutions for residents of the Rio Verde Foothills community near Scottsdale. Rio Verde Foothills is an unincorporated subdivision that does not have municipal water service, nor is it currently served by a private regulated water company.
A significant portion of the Rio Verde Foothills community relies on water haulers to truck water into the area, while some residents have private wells. The water is currently being purchased from the City of Scottsdale and then trucked to the community for delivery. Scottsdale has given notice to residents that due to current drought conditions they will no longer be allowing water hauling from its standpipe beginning January 1, 2023, leaving residents with the prospect of not having access to water.
Rio Verde Foothills residents initially went to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors seeking to establish a Domestic Water Improvement District (DWID); however, the Board of Supervisors voted that option down in August.
The Corporation Commission contacted regulated water companies that operate near the Rio Verde Foothills to see if any had interest in offering a solution that would provide service to the community. EPCOR submitted a letter indicating interest in coming up with a solution to this problem. At the meeting on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, EPCOR agreed to submit an application to construct a standpipe for use by the Rio Verde Foothills community. That application will come before the Commission for a vote at a future Open Meeting. If approved, construction of the standpipe could take up to 36 months to complete.
The Commission does not have the authority to require a public service corporation to extend its service territory but can approve an application for an extension submitted by a public service corporation.