Court hears arguments as Rio Verde Foothills residents seek water service

Published: Friday, January 20, 2023 - 4:05pm
Updated: Saturday, January 21, 2023 - 9:03am

The unincorporated community of Rio Verde Foothills is one of the epicenters of the Southwest's historic water shortage. Just beyond the Scottsdale city limits, residents have long had access to the city's water.

But Scottsdale halted service this year. And now residents of the unincorporated community have gone to Maricopa County Superior Court, seeking a temporary restraining order to get the taps turned back on.

Attorney Dan Slaven, representing the plaintiffs, argued in court that the immediate crisis warrants legal intervention.

"I would propose that we take care of the immediate crisis we have on our hands here, Your Honor, to go ahead and issue the (temporary) stay, so that the water can be turned back on, because these people are running out of water," Slaven said.

But attorney Scot Claus, representing Scottsdale, told the judge Rio Verde Foothills residents are not legally entitled to the city’s water.

"The residents of the City of Scottsdale, who have paid taxes, who have had easements dedicated, are entitled – according to the Supreme Court – to have water available to them in a time of shortage."

Although cities throughout the Valley get their water from a variety of sources, Scottsdale is heavily reliant on the Colorado River. With the state facing cutbacks to its share of Colorado River water, Scottsdale was the first Valley community to officially declare a drought, doing so in the summer of 2021. That activated the city's drought management plan, which includes a host of conservation measures.

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