Some residents in an affluent Arizona community are using rainwater to flush toilets and plastic dishes to avoid washing dishes and buying gym memberships to shower after their water supply was shut off January 1 due to extreme conditions in drought in the west.

The situation forced some of the 2,200 Rio Verde Foothills residents last week to suing the neighboring city of Scottsdalewhich had supplied water to about 500 homeowners in the rural unincorporated community.

Homeowners had relied on haulage trucks to bring water from Scottsdale, but the city halted the longstanding arrangement this year, citing drought conditions that make it unfeasible to provide water to nonresidents.

Another 200 Rio Verde homeowners draw water from wells on their properties that are drying up, forcing them to periodically rely on water carriers, residents said this week.

Municipal utility Scottsdale Water decided to shut off Rio Verde Foothills to reduce its consumption as drought persists across the West. Arizona depends on water from the dwindling Colorado River, which supplies water to some 40 million people in several states.

The utility company informed Rio Verde Foothills in November 2021 that the water would be cut off starting this year.

Scottsdale’s conservation efforts have left nearby Rio Verde Foothills residents without enough water for basic needs like laundry and dishwashing.

“People are trying to make the water go much further than we’ve gone, not that you want to go to this extreme,” said Karen Nabity, a Rio Verde resident who has collected rainwater from recent downpours in buckets. to flush your toilet.

He also drives tens of miles to shower.

“Every drop of water counts,” Nabity said. «It doesn’t matter if it’s the rainwater or the water from my tank.»

The lawsuit, filed by residents Wendy and Vance Walker, claims that under state law, a municipality cannot turn off water service once it has been established.

The Walkers did not return phone calls requesting comment Thursday and their attorney, Francis J. Slavin, was not available.

Scottsdale city officials said in a sentence this week that Rio Verde Foothills is a separate community governed by Maricopa County and that the city’s action does not prevent Rio Verde residents from purchasing water from other sources.

«Scottsdale has warned and advised that it is not responsible for Rio Verde for many years, especially given the requirements of the City’s mandatory drought plan,» the statement read. «The city remains steadfast in that position and is confident that it is on the right side of the law.»

Rio Verde Foothills residents say that as the lawsuit progresses, they are doing everything they can to reduce the use of unconventional forms.

Jennifer Simpson, whose water tank on her property is half full, said she has stopped watering her shrubbery and her husband plans to get rid of their garden.

“We are concerned,” he said. “Water sources are limited.”

Simpson said she has also heard of neighbors joining fitness clubs to shower and buying plastic plates and silverware to avoid doing the dishes.

She said many residents filled their water tanks days before the end of the year to stretch their supplies, but they will probably run out in the next few weeks.

After that, Simpson said, the options are limited.

Some residents plan to haul the water in from multiple counties, but that would only be a temporary solution, because it would eventually run out, too, Nabity said.

Simpson said: “There is so much on the air right now. There’s just no answer.»