It has been quite the roller coaster for the residents of the Rio Verde Foothills and their attempt to secure a long term source for water; you can get fully up to date here. Through nearly a full year of ups and downs, of political grandstanding and anger from the citizenry, the people in this region have taken a significant step forward towards a permanent solution.
Developing a solution for their water access issues has proven to be an incredibly complex situation, with a need for both private and public sector solutions and a further need to integrate them all together. One of those needs, after the county decided to give limited assistance, was to create a standpipe water district. We have now learned that that has now gone forward.
This district serves as a board of authority and with decision-making capabilities, and is necessary in order to source their more permanent water solution. Its existence was green-lit by Governor Katie Hobbs and the legislature, and early comments seem to be hopeful. Considering the degree of in-fighting within the community related to which bill in the legislature they were supporting, to have their first meeting be wrapped up in 40 minutes is nearly a miracle.
Of course, simple meetings might be the easiest part of their jobs. Now comes the tough work: soliciting bids, negotiating, and coming to an agreement, all with the watchful eyes of the citizenry likely dissecting everything they say and do. Then there is the process of working through an agreement with the city of Scottsdale, perhaps the most difficult thing that will await them considering Mayor Ortega’s strong opposition to facilitating a solution with them
Indeed, navigating those choppy waters without major issues will be a far tougher fight than simply running a meeting. However, there is also a very real possibility that their constituency may have battle fatigue and be less inclined to put up a fight and dig in too hard, and instead bias towards trusting the actions of their elected officials. One fewer battle will certainly be welcome.
Perhaps the hardest work lies ahead of the Rio Verde Foothills community, but at least now they have a degree of control in the matter. They are not having to rely on the legislature or the city, but instead are driving their own future. And that alone should put plenty of minds at ease, as the light at the end of the tunnel is growing larger (and that light doesn’t appear to be a train coming at them).