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Arizona Corporation Commission Approves Water Rates For New River

New River
(Photo by Bret Jaspers - KJZZ)
New River has about 15,000 residents, many who get water hauled in from outside sources.

The Arizona Corporation Commission voted to approve potential water rates for New River and Desert Hills.

Under the proposal, the utility EPCOR would build a new standpipe near the two communities, which are both in northern Maricopa County. EPCOR would then sell water to hauling companies with customers in New River and Desert Hills.

This comes after the City of Phoenix said it will no longer sell water from city hydrants to haulers bound for those communities.

Some neighboring residents are against the proposed site. At the Commission’s Tuesday meeting, they cited safety and noise concerns.

But Commissioner Boyd Dunn urged people to look at the big picture.

“I encourage people to continue working on it,” Dunn said. “But keep in mind that we have an affordable cost presently, and I think we can probably focus on keeping that cost as low as possible.”

Dunn and other commissioners voted unanimously to approve EPCOR’s price plan. The neighboring community Anthem still has to officially agree to lease EPCOR the property to build the new standpipe.

The City of Phoenix has set a cutoff date of the end of the year for the haulers.

Commissioner Andy Tobin said that’s not enough time.

“Well even if we passed this today, EPCOR’s not gonna have this thing ready here in December 31st,” Tobin said. “We still need to be gracious to the City Council and see if we can’t get some extension on this.”

The City Water Department has said in the past that it will not grant New River water haulers an extension.

Bret Jaspers was previously the managing editor for news at WSKG in upstate New York. Before that, he was a producer at WYPR in Baltimore and at Wisconsin Public Radio.His stories have aired on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, and Here & Now, and also the BBC and Marketplace. Way back when, he started as an intern and fill-in producer at WNYC’s On the Media, and then helped out on The Brian Lehrer Show and Soundcheck.When he's not covering the news, he's probably running, reading, or eating. Jaspers is also a member of Actors' Equity Association, the union for professional stage actors.