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New water plan for Rio Verde Foothills approved by Scottsdale City Council

The Scottsdale City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved a plan that could have the city once again providing water to the unincorporated community of Rio Verde Foothills.

The issue has been ongoing for several months, and Scottsdale turned off the taps on Jan. 1. That’s left residents to rely on private water haulers, with some saying they can’t shower at home and are dependent on bottled water.

The plan OK’d by Scottsdale would have the city get Rio Verde’s water from a third party, but then treat it and use the city’s pipes to get it to the community. It’s also temporary — up to three years — and it requires approval from the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

The Show talked with Solange Whitehead, a Scottsdale City Council member, about the plan.

Rio Verde resident Meredith DeAngelis says she's thrilled the city is working on a solution, but “I know that, in here, the city is obtaining the 600 acre feet of water from a third-party source and they have yet to have secured that water. And my concern is what are they doing, and how is that going to pan out?" DeAngelis said.

The water haul price would triple and Scottsdale would additionally charge Maricopa County $1,000 a month. 

DeAngelis says another concern is the plan only applies to people living there before January, potentially leaving new residents to fend for themselves. The plan would also ban self-hauling. Whitehead says there is room for negotiations.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.