(NewsNation) — Thousands of Americans are in a fight for water. Not in a third world country or a warzone, but right here in the U.S.
Water issues are plaguing thousands of citizens in the Phoenix suburb Rio Verde, and some are without water completely.
Rio Verde is about an hour outside of Scottsdale. The area has been left without a water supply since Jan. 1 when Scottsdale ended their water deliveries due to drought. This move impacted hundreds of homes.
Now, Rio Verde residents are paying the price to buy water from other suppliers. NewsNation host Leland Vittert found that their water bills have skyrocketed from around $220 before the shut off to now about $1,000 per month.
Cody Reim is a resident of Rio Verde and has a family of six. He appeared on NewsNation’s “On Balance with Leland Vittert” to break down what people are dealing with.
“It’s unacceptable. This should not be happening in the United States of America,” Reim said. “We do a lot, the most out of any countries in humanitarian aid when it comes to water for other countries. Well, it’s time to look within and help our citizens here that have no water.”
Reim is leading protests on water restrictions made by Scottsdale and is determined to find a solution. He says his water bills could now cost more than his mortgage payment.
“This has been a big mixed bag of emotions for me, mentally, and it’s been a physical issue as well. But when I have my neighbors collecting rainwater and using it to flush their toilets and wash their dishes in the United States of America, something is wrong,” Reim said. “And in me, it lights a fire so big that no one’s going to stand in my way. I’m going to get water for this community
Reim says Rio Verde was made aware that Scottsdale would cut them off at some point due to Colorado River shortage cuts.
According to Reim, Scottsdale asked Rio Verde residents to bring water to them to be able to process it and turn it into clean, drinkable water.
“The Rio Verde citizens and a few entities met that requirement. It wasn’t made aware to us until right when the requirement was met and multiple offers were brought to the table to the city of Scottsdale, that they had apparently changed their mind and not made us aware of it,” Reim said.
He added: “We thought this whole time that the city of Scottsdale was our option.”
Reim said commercial water haulers with big trucks drive to Scottsdale since it has one of the most state-of-the-art water filling stations in Maricopa County. He told NewsNation the filling station was “specifically designed” to fill water trucks for Rio Verde.
The city of Scottsdale issued the following statement on their website Monday:
“Rio Verde is a separate community governed by Maricopa County, not the City of Scottsdale. Scottsdale has warned and advised that it is not responsible for Rio Verde for many years, especially given the requirements of the City’s mandated drought plan. The city remains firm in that position, and confident it is on the right side of the law. Nothing in the city’s action precludes residents in Rio Verde Foothills from purchasing water from other sources. The water haulers who have previously hauled water from Scottsdale have access to water from other jurisdictions and are still offering to haul water to serve the homes in Rio Verde.”
Reim isn’t backing down. He says he’s motivated to help his community.
“Every day that they leave us without water is one more day of fuel for me,” he said.
A group of Rio Verde residents filed a lawsuit against Scottsdale on Thursday in hopes of getting their water turned back on. They maintain that Scottsdale violated a law that keeps Arizona cities from cutting off utilities to people outside their borders.