Phoenix Extends Deadline For Water Hauling To New River And Desert Hills

By Bret Jaspers
Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 - 3:38pm
Updated: Friday, December 15, 2017 - 3:49pm
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(Photo via Twitter)
Phoenix City Councilwoman Thelda Williams

Phoenix has announced an extension for water hauling up to New River and Desert Hills.

This comes as a relief for the people in New River and Desert Hills, many of whom relied on water hauled from Phoenix hydrants. Julie Elliott, president of New River Desert Hills Water, called it “great news.”

Up to 1,500 residents in those communities were facing a deadline: Phoenix had planned to cut off the haulers at the end of the year. After some back and forth, New River and Desert Hills residents came to an agreement with the utility EPCOR and a neighboring community, Anthem.

The plan is for EPCOR to build a new hauling station on property it will lease from Anthem. Water haulers will be able to get water there and truck it to New River, rather than buying water in Scottsdale, which would have added significant fuel costs to the price. The station won’t be ready for a few months, but with the plan in place, Phoenix extended water hauling from the City until April 30.

Phoenix City Councilwoman Thelda Williams said at first, individual residents came to her on their own to ask for an extension. “I had many many phone calls, letters, emails from individuals. And it was very apparent they were scattered,” she said. Williams said she made the decision with Phoenix’s water department after the hauling station plan came together.

“Phoenix is not a cold-hearted, cruel entity,” she said. “But we have a responsibility to our taxpayers who fund water.”

Since the summer, the city of Phoenix Water Services Department had insisted that because city water customers pay for infrastructure repairs through fees and water rates, it wasn’t fair for New River and Desert Hills residents to access the water and not pay those same fees. The city was also concerned that it couldn’t guarantee the safety of the hydrant water, which is intended for construction and firefighting, not drinking.