SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Hundreds of homes in a rural community near Phoenix are faced with a coming water crisis, and were hoping that Scottsdale would soon announce a holiday miracle.
The city mayor's response? "There is no Santa Claus."
Mayor David Ortega delivered the harsh remark in a recent statement on the city's upcoming water cut-off to Rio Verde Foothills as part of Scottsdale's drought plan. Come Jan. 1, more than 500 homes will no longer have a source of water.
"The mega-drought tells us all --- Water is NOT a Compassion Game," Ortega said in the statement.
Ortega sees the community's proposals to avoid the coming water cutoff as "special interests" trying to use Scottsdale resources and bring water tankers to the city's roads. He said the community's main "salvation," Canadian-based water utility company EPCOR, as being able to provide water to water to homes without the help of Scottsdale.
The city formally confirmed Ortega's message through a response from City Manager Jim Thompson on Monday, denying a petition from Rio Verde Foothills residents asking for an extension of water service.
"While the city was willing to work with RVF should a DWID be approved, that option is no longer viable given the decision of County Supervisors to not establish it despite residents’ efforts," Thompson's letter said.
"EPCOR is a private company with no jurisdiction over this region. Without a DWID, and no County involvement, the issue of the unlimited and unregulated growth would still be left unaddressed."
The utility confirmed it could take over service for Rio Verde Foothills, but also estimated getting the service up and running would take three years.
Dynamite Water, a water hauling company currently serving Rio Verde, has been trying to act as a more immediate solution for the community, planning to buy a year's water supply from the San Carlos Apache tribe, but the tribe still needs approval from multiple federal and tribal agencies.
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