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Hobbs vetoes bill to make Scottsdale provide water to Rio Verde Foothills

Gov. Katie Hobbs on Monday vetoed a bill that would have required the city of Scottsdale to resume water sales to Rio Verde Foothills. Hundreds of homes in the unincorporated community have been without a reliable water source since January, when Scottsdale cut their supply due to drought restrictions. 

In a  letter explaining her veto, Hobbs said House Bill 2441 from Republican Rep. Gail Griffin would not have provided an immediate solution for Rio Verde Foothills, since it passed without an emergency clause to put it into effect immediately.

Instead, Hobbs said she wants lawmakers to pass  HB 2561. That bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Alexander Kolodin, would create a new government body called a standpipe district to negotiate water sales between Scottsdale and Rio Verde Foothills until 2026. It does have an emergency clause. And it includes language that puts limits on developing homes in places without an assured water supply.

"We will not build a resilient Arizona with piecemeal, short-term proposals," Hobbs wrote. "Leaders in this state must come together for long-term solutions to address unregulated land development and strengthen our state's 100-year Assured Water Supply regulations."   

HB 2561 has passed in the House but needs a vote in the Senate. Lawmakers are on break until mid-June, but Hobbs urged them to OK that bill right away.

Residents of the Rio Verde Foothills have not had a reliable water source since Jan. 1 of this year, when Scottsdale stopped providing water services to the 1,000-plus community members. Traditionally, Scottsdale water was shipped to Rio Verde but two years ago, the city announced it was concluding the deliveries as of the first of this year.

This has been a source of consternation of the residents and as summer crests, they are anticipating Sonoran temperatures and the impending threat of wildfires.

The Show spoke with 11-year resident of the Rio Verde Foothills, Meredith DeAngelis on the Governor's veto.

Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent. She has produced work for NPR, New England Public Radio, Southern California Public Radio, PRI's The World, Washington Post, Reuters and more.She has a master’s degree in radio journalism from the USC Annenberg School of Journalism.She lives in central Phoenix with her husband, two daughters, and ill-behaved cat and dog. Her side-passions include photography, crosswords and hot sauce.