‘Our water tanks will be dry within a few days’: City of Arizona cuts off water supply next door amid drought

Residents of the Rio Verde foothills in Scottsdale, Arizona, are resorting to extreme and inconvenient measures to obtain water as they count the days until supplies run out.

On the first day of the new year, the city officially stopped transporting water to the unincorporated neighboring area.

Scottsdale has blamed the ongoing drought for its decision to turn off tap water for its neighbors. The city says it can no longer afford to sell water to its neighbors and must instead focus on conserving water for its own homes.

This critical decision has left between 500 and 700 households — approximately 1,000 people, many of whom run businesses and send their children to school within Scottsdale city limits — without a reliable source of water.

Water in Arizona has been a major sociopolitical issue for years as authorities and communities understand the reality that Lake Mead is drying up and there may not be enough water from the Colorado River to sustain some populations in the near future

Water in Arizona has been a major sociopolitical issue for years as authorities and communities understand the reality that Lake Mead is drying up and there may not be enough water from the Colorado River to sustain some populations in the near future

The Rio Verde Foothills is a small unincorporated area west of Scottsdale, Arizona

The Rio Verde Foothills is a small unincorporated area west of Scottsdale, Arizona

Residents of the area’s many half-million dollar McMansions, stucco homes and ranches are desperate for a solution to this very serious problem.

Homeowners say they are counting the days until their water supplies run out.

“It’s awful,” said Cody Reim, who says his monthly water bill will now skyrocket to about $1,000 a month. “We need water now, we cannot wait a week or a day. That should not have happened; We shouldn’t be ten days without water.’

Reim, a father of four young children, organized the protest. He said sitting around and waiting was an impossibility for him.

Water-based financial turmoil has threatened the livelihoods of young families and retirees alike. The average family’s water bill in the area has increased from $220 a month to $660 a month. And while water trucks can be filled and refilled for now, it’s unclear how long current backup sources will last.

According to Sarah Porter, director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at Arizona State University, what is happening in Rio Verde should serve as a cautionary tale for other unincorporated areas that depend on water from the Colorado River, which is about Provides 35 percent of Arizona’s water.

“We can’t just protect every single person who buys a package and builds a house. There isn’t enough money or water,” she told the New York Times.

She added that several other unincorporated areas in Arizona rely on water from nearby major cities, including Prescott and Flagstaff, and those systems too are weak given the ongoing reality of the drought.

Even the current storm in California won’t save the area, which is experiencing the profound effects of a 20-year drought that has all but drained Lake Mead, the US’s largest reservoir.

Before the shutdown, homes that didn’t have their own well had water delivered by truck every few weeks.

The trucks filled water from Scottsdale at a line about 15 minutes from the foothills of the Rio Verde and then delivered the water directly to residents’ doors. Families have buried under their front yards 5,000-gallon storage tanks, enough water to feed an average family for a month.

When the tanks ran out, local residents called the water carriers to refill them.

The arrangement has never been more solid, but residents told the Times the water has always arrived on time and they are now confident that the system is reliable.

Now those water trucks have to look elsewhere for refills.

Rio Verde protesters, whose water was shut off Jan. 1, sued the city of Scottsdale last week for shutting down a utility

Rio Verde protesters, whose water was shut off Jan. 1, sued the city of Scottsdale last week for shutting down a utility

Trucks hauling 5,000 gallons of water to individual homes in the Rio Verde foothills now have to go elsewhere to find water for customers, adding to the time and expense of the process

Trucks hauling 5,000 gallons of water to individual homes in the Rio Verde foothills now have to go elsewhere to find water for customers, adding to the time and expense of the process

Pictured: downtown Scottsdale, Arizona. The reality of the ongoing drought will force many people in the Southwest United States to reevaluate their lifestyle and access to resources

Pictured: downtown Scottsdale, Arizona. The reality of the ongoing drought will force many people in the Southwest United States to reevaluate their lifestyle and access to resources

Protesters with families and just days left of water supplies gather outside Scottsdale City Hall

Protesters with families and just days left of water supplies gather outside Scottsdale City Hall

Lake Mead has been drying up for two decades and there isn't enough water left to sell to surrounding areas, according to Scottsdale

Lake Mead has been drying up for two decades and there isn’t enough water left to sell to surrounding areas, according to Scottsdale

Protesters gather outside Scottsdale City Hall after their water supply was cut in January

Protesters gather outside Scottsdale City Hall after their water supply was cut in January

Last week, a group of residents in the Rio Verde Foothills sued Scottsdale to restore their water. They argue that the city is breaking Arizona law by cutting off utility services to customers outside of its borders.

Scottsdale did not respond to the lawsuit.

Protesters holding signs gathered outside Scottsdale City Hall as Mayor David Ortega welcomed new and returning council members to the chamber.

Rio Verde residents, who have formed into groups, told local outlets they are on the verge of drying up.

“We have about five to seven days of water left,” Wendy Walk told News 12.

“My church is beautiful; it’s the special place in Arizona. And if it has no water, almost a thousand houses, it will die. I just hope our neighbors in Scottsdale see that and want to help,” Reim said.

“I think that’s a fair cause,” he said.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11640903/Were-not-going-make-Arizona-city-cuts-neighborhoods-water-supply-amid-drought.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 ‘Our water tanks will be dry within a few days’: City of Arizona cuts off water supply next door amid drought

Bradford Betz

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