KGUN 9NewsAZ Drought


Arizona communities at epicenter of water crisis

Resident says no one is immune to the crisis
Posted at 11:46 AM, Nov 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-28 13:46:13-05

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. (CNN/KGUN) — America's west is experiencing the worst drought in 1,200 years.

The Colorado River is at record lows, threatening the livelihoods of 40 million people who rely on the river everyday.

And though the government could impose additional water supply cuts, some Arizona communities are already feeling the effects.

Arizona resident Karen Nabity has appreciated living in Rio Verde Foothills, about an hour northeast of Phoenix. That is, until her surroundings began to run dry.

According to reports, Maricopa County, which includes the Rio Verde Foothills, is the fastest-growing in the nation.

"This is a symbol of the massive growth in Maricopa County," claims Nabity.

Many homeowners rely on private water deliveries from nearby Scottsdale. However, some of these water bushiness no longer have enough to spare.

"Come January 1st, we're done," shared Owner of Rio Verde Foothills Portable Water Hauling John Hornewe.

The City of Scottsdale let water hauling companies know starting in 2023, they could no longer buy Scottsdale water to deliver outside city limits — including the Rio Verde Foothills.

"There's, there's no question about it. The drought is reality," Hornewe said. "Rio Verde is the first domino to fall because of the drought that we're in."

Farmers say this is pushing them to the brink, with many fearing the future of farming in Arizona.

"No one can produce it like the colorado river can for food. So yeah, I'm really worried," Temper Farming Company Farmer Will Thelander revealed. "50 years down the road, unless we come up with solutions, farming won't be here."

Thelander is placing his hope in a drought-resistant crop called guayule, but he still wants politicians to listen up.

"People just keep saying we'll pump some water. What happens in 50 years? What happens to people's kids and grandkids and where's all the food come," Thelander questioned." Just kicking the can down the road and hoping for the best is what everyone seems to be doing. I don't think it's a path for success."

Ultimately, people living in the area see it as a warning to others.

"America, wake up! For the folks that are sitting there and surrounded by water and have great wells and other states and that kind of thing, don't think you're not going to be affected," added Nabity.

Caleb Fernández is a digital content producer for KGUN 9. After earning his bachelor's degree from Penn State in Advertising/Public Relations, Caleb went to New York where he learned production assistance, photography and art direction. Share your story ideas and important issues with Caleb by emailing or by connecting on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.