By Councilmember Solange Whitehead
This past week, Governor Katie Hobbs signed SB1432 into law with an emergency clause. The bipartisan bill creates a path to water security for Rio Verde Foothills residents.
I discussed the new law with Mark Brodie on KJZZ’s The Show this week. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7A8w7hlBdFg
In passing the law, the State ends a water crisis created in part by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors denying an RVF resident-requested Domestic Water Improvement District (DWID) in 2022 and an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Scottsdale this year.
SB1432 establishes a State-appointed governing body, a Standpipe District, charged with securing 3rd-party water, overseeing billing, and regulating rates for participating RVF homes. This is a first for these residents. The legislators thoughtfully fixed the RVF problem without creating a bigger problem. SB1432 upholds Scottsdale’s decision to end supplying city water to Rio Verde Foothills. A decision also held up by the Arizona Superior Court.
Scottsdale attorneys were present throughout the months-long negotiations and will draft an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the Standpipe District to treat water at no cost to Scottsdale ratepayers. Scottsdale has similar IGAs with other municipalities. The standpipe district is an interim solution in anticipation of water utility, Epcor Water Arizona, establishing permanent water service in 2 to 3 years.
This win-win outcome should not be taken for granted. The Governor vetoed a bill that would have resumed sending Scottsdale’s water to RVF and limited the city’s ability to recoup costs.
Arizona is at its best when we all work together to solve problems and improve the lives of people. SB1432 offers a shining example.
Special thank you to Governor Katie Hobbs, Mayor David Ortega, Representative Alex Kolodin (LD3), my City Council colleagues, and the many legislators involved.
Solange Whitehead, City of Scottsdale Councilwoman