Why libertarian cities fail

April 6, 2023 ☼ libertarianfail

Source: Only Sky (Link)

Arizona law requires homebuilders in active management areas to secure a reliable source of water expected to last at least a hundred years. However, there’s a loophole: the law only applies to subdivisions of six homes or more. You can guess what some clever developers do: they simply build lots of “subdivisions” each consisting of only five homes.

These so-called “wildcat” communities are all over the state. They’re miniature havens of freedom, perfect for stubbornly independent libertarians who want to get out from under the thumb of government bureaucrats telling them where they can and can’t live. Rio Verde Foothills is one such.

But then they made an awful discovery. It turns out, even when you find a way to skirt regulations about water… humans still need water.

Where have Rio Verde Foothills’ inhabitants been getting water to drink, wash and brush their teeth? They’ve been doing what libertarians usually do: they rely on other people who planned better than they did.

Specifically, for years, they’ve been getting water from the neighboring community of Scottsdale. They would drive tanker trucks into Scottsdale, fill up from the municipal supply, and haul the water back to Rio Verde Foothills to store it in tanks.

But Scottsdale grew tired of this. Since they themselves were under drought pressure, they took the understandable position that they should be conserving their water for their own residents, not to subsidize their neighbors who couldn’t be bothered to plan. Scottsdale repeatedly warned Rio Verde Foothills to make other arrangements, a warning they ignored. Then, at the beginning of 2023, Scottsdale cut them off.

Since losing their water supply, Rio Verde Foothills residents have been complaining bitterly, protesting and petitioning. They even filed a lawsuit demanding that Scottsdale turn the tap back on. In the meantime, they’re relying on water trucked from farther away in the state, at great expense, with no assurance of future availability.