Scottsdale Water

On Tuesday, Feb. 21, the Scottsdale City Council will consider authorizing an agreement with Maricopa County that would re-open a supply of water for non-city residents in unincorporated Rio Verde Foothills, while remaining in compliance with Scottsdale's drought management plan.  

Rio Verde is a separate community governed by Maricopa County, not the City of Scottsdale. In the past, Rio Verde water haulers were allowed to fill-up tanks at city of Scottsdale fill stations. However, given the drought on the Colorado River, the city of Scottsdale stopped allowing water to be transported outside of the city in compliance with its Drought Management Plan. Per that state-mandated plan, Scottsdale restricted access to its water for non-city residents on Jan. 1.

After receiving pushback, the Scottsdale Office of Communication released a public statement Jan. 16, stating the city had warned Rio Verde of the issue for “many years, especially given the requirements of the city’s mandated drought plan.” The statement also said “the city remains firm in its position and is confident it is on the right side of the law.”

Because of this restriction, the water haulers Rio Verde relied on had to find another source of water, which the city of Scottsdale said could be hauled from other jurisdictions to continue to serve homes in Rio Verde.

Since the Jan. 1 restriction and subsequent Jan. 16 statement, Scottsdale has been working with state and county representatives to provide a temporary solution for Rio Verde Foothills residents.

The solution now proposed – which is subject to approval by the Scottsdale City Council and then Maricopa County – would provide temporary (up to three years) access to city water for current Rio Verde Foothill residents. Under the parameters of the agreement, the county will attempt a building permit moratorium in the impacted area to the extent allowed under state law.

The agreement is contingent on the city obtaining additional water resources from a third party that Scottsdale would treat and make available for delivery by Maricopa County. The city will fully recover its costs through fees charged to Maricopa County.

“Early in this process, the Scottsdale City Council committed to working toward solutions for Rio Verde Foothills that comply with our drought management plan and do not negatively impact city residents – this proposal achieves those goals,” said Mayor David Ortega. “Many different levels of government have come together to draft this solution, and Scottsdale looks forward to Maricopa County’s action on the last few steps.”

If water resources from a third-party are reduced for any reason, including drought, the city will reduce deliveries to Rio Verde Foothills residents.

If approved by the Scottsdale City Council, water via Scottsdale can be available to Maricopa County as soon as they can approve the agreement and establish a method for making this water available to Rio Verde Foothills residents.

The Scottsdale City Council report, draft agreement and special agenda for the Feb. 21 meeting can be found at For more information about the City of Scottsdale’s water, including facts, figures and statements regarding Rio Verde, visit

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Thank you for taking part in our commenting section. We want this platform to be a safe and inclusive community where you can freely share ideas and opinions. Comments that are racist, hateful, sexist or attack others won’t be allowed. Just keep it clean. Do these things or you could be banned:

• Don’t name-call and attack other commenters. If you’d be in hot water for saying it in public, then don’t say it here.

• Don’t spam us.

• Don’t attack our journalists.

Let’s make this a platform that is educational, enjoyable and insightful.

Email questions to

Share your opinion


Join the conversation

Recommended for you