Drought fight continues in Phoenix, but some are concerned over what is being done

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- On Wednesday night, the Phoenix City Council voted against a proposed water rate hike.

According to the Water Services Department, the proposal hoped to get more money for some drought fighting efforts. Despite the no vote, some of those efforts are continuing, and they might make you look twice if you see them.

The view from Pat Quinn's backyard is probably different than yours.

"It did cause a lot of conversation people walking their dogs and they'd say, 'What are they doing?' and I'd say 'they're drilling for oil,'" said Quinn. "'Really?!' and I'd say, 'no! It's water for the city.'"

In September, shipping containers started going up in a lot next to Quinn's property near 56th Street and East Cholla, surrounding a new water well

"I found out about it by somebody knocking on my door, saying they need to survey my backyard to make sure they need to interfere with any pipes in my backyard," said Quinn. "So I said why are you here, they said we're gonna put a well in next door."

The shipping containers help shield the noise of the 24-7 well. Quinn says the noise isn't bad, but he still has questions.

"As far as noise, it hasn't been that bad," said Quinn. "It's kind of unsightly. We're more concerned what it's going to look like when it's done. Is it going to fit in to the residential neighborhood or not? That's one of our biggest concerns."

The well program isn't new, but the need for more is. Many Valley residents have probably heard of efforts to fight off the drought. New forecasts from the Federal Government aren't great, showing that Lake Mead could hit critically low water levels in less than five years.

The City of Phoenix says it's time to be proactive.

"That's really for two reasons to make sure that we're getting ready for drought," said said Assistant Water Service Director Troy Hayes. "As drought continues, we have to make sure we need to be able to pull out our stored resources that we have underground. In order to do that, we need well capacity."

Hayes says nobody is panicking, they just need to make sure the water can get to the people in the worst case scenario.

"We have the water resources to go well in to the future with whatever drought comes," said Hayes. "What we don't have is the infrastructure in place to move it to the parts of Phoenix that need it."

Repairing and updating infrastructure isn't free. A 12% water rate hike over the next two years was supposed to help pay for those needs. The rate hike was voted down, but will likely be considered in the new year. A lot's at stake with the future of Phoenix water, but Quinn just hopes he'll have a better view when the work's done.

"I understand the need for it, but I guess part of the problem is that we haven't been kept informed about what it's going to look like in the end," said Quinn.