Scottsdale deals with water crisis- leaving many residents without water


Allison Wilkens, Reporter

Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega was cheerfully shaking hands and signing autographs at a Super Bowl event in Old Town, Scottsdale last week, despite a current water crisis leaving hundreds of residents with little to no water supply.


As of January 1st, Ortega has issued an order which prohibits water haulers from using Scottsdale’s water source to supply Rio Verde, cutting off the city’s main source of water.


In a statement, on their website,  the City of Scottsdale gave reason for its decision to officially cut off water.


The Statement said, “Scottsdale has warned and advised that it is not responsible for Rio Verde for many years.” and that  “The city remains firm in that position and confident it is on the right side of the law.”


The City of Scottsdale defended this by claiming that Rio Verde has other sources of water


Scottsdale said “Nothing in the city’s action precludes residents in Rio Verde Foothills from purchasing water from other sources. The water haulers who have previously hauled water from Scottsdale have access to water from other jurisdictions and are still offering to haul water to serve the homes in Rio Verde” in their statement in January. 


The city claims that Rio Verde is not in their jurisdiction


Scottsdale said, “Rio Verde Foothills lies within unincorporated Maricopa County, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is their local government.”  


However, when Ortega was questioned about the decision himself, he had something much harsher to say.


Ortega said, “The mega-drought tells us all, water is NOT a compassion game.”


However, this decision may not last for long; HB2561 – a bill that would force Scottsdale to reopen its water supply to haulers –  passed the Arizona House Natural Resources, Energy & Water committee February 21


Supporter of the bill, State Representative Alex Kolodin said, “If we work together, we can make it through this crisis,” 


Ortega, however, was not too fond of the bill.


Ortega said, “The three Scottsdale representatives acted alone and not by consulting with the city council or myself,” and that, “They were very irresponsible in doing so and I don’t believe they represent the people of Scottsdale on that issue.”


For the time being, many suppliers are frantically searching for a temporary solution for Rio Verde residents.


One such supplier is  Dynamite Water, a water hauling company that is planning to buy a year’s water supply from the San Carlos Apache tribe, but still needs approval from multiple federal and tribal agencies.


Luckily, in an official statement by the city of Scottsdale on February 12th, they disclosed that they may reconsider their decision. 


The statement said. “The City Council will consider authorizing the city manager to execute an agreement with Maricopa County that would re-open a supply of water for non-city residents in unincorporated Rio Verde Foothills” and that, “Scottsdale has been working with state and county representatives to provide a temporary solution for Rio Verde Foothills residents.”