Town of Cave Creek looking to limit new water meters outside town limits

CAVE CREEK— At the Regular Council Meeting on September 20, 2021, Town staff presented on proposed updates to the 2017 Water Policy. The revisions are directed to help ensure the long-term sustainability of water supplies for both Cave Creek and the Desert Hills water systems.

In 2006 and 2007, the Town of Cave Creek took over the operations of the privately owned Desert Hills and Cave Creek water companies. Since these acquisitions, the Town has been committed to providing the highest quality water services both inside and outside its municipal limits. The legal water supplies for both water service areas are different. Desert Hills only has non-renewable groundwater rights accessible via wells. Cave Creek has both nonrenewable groundwater rights and renewable allocation of Colorado River water provided through the Central Arizona Project (CAP).

There are currently three groundwater wells in the Desert Hills system, but production has been declining for several years. A 2020 hydrologic study concluded that the Town cannot rely on drilling new wells to replace the reducing well capacity in Desert Hills. In 2020, over 77% of the water supplies for Desert Hills came from the CAP allocation for Cave Creek. The Town is working to obtain new CAP water supplies for Desert Hills. To date, the town has only been able to obtain less than half of the CAP water that Cave Creek delivered to Desert Hills in 2020. The new CAP supplied for Desert Hills water is also a lower delivery priority and cannot be relied upon to support future development; it is only helpful in meeting current demands.

The 2017 water policy limited new accounts to a single meter per parcel. Any new subdivisions or large water users were required to bring the Town new water resources. However, due to the continued decline of groundwater in Desert Hills, it has become necessary to limit any new water services in Desert Hills unless there is an existing contractual or statutory obligation to serve. Existing Will Serve letters are not considered a contractual obligation as they only represent an intent to allow a new service at a prior point in time. This revision is being proposed to reflect that Desert Hills does not have its own secure long-term water supplies. The town will continue to provide water services to the existing Desert Hills accounts, while working to secure new long-term water resources for the area.

For questions and inquiries please contact the Utility Department at Town Hall. All upcoming Council Meetings, agendas, and directions to participate in-person or remotely can be found on the Town’s calendar. 37622 N. Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek, AZ 85331 480-488-6600

(Editor’s note: the 10-18-21 regular meeting of the Cave Creek Town Council was discussion only and an opportunity for public input. To view the entire proceedings, go to: