Lately when Riyon Harding steps into her backyard, she has to clean up the bufelgrass by herself to avoid her yard catching on fire. With a broken wrist, raking can be hard.
Since its flammable, she does it often, but normally her HOA would have paid to have it done through her HOA fees.
However, a lot of those fees are now going towards water leaks in her neighborhood, which means the HOA doesnt have the money to keep up with yard maintenance.
Im doing it myself because I dont have the money to pay for additional landscapers, Harding said.
Looking through her water bill, Harding notices its only $32, which she pays to a third party. Shes not worried about it but is worried about her monthly HOA fee, which costs her $175.
The president of the Viewpoint HOA Mark Flint said 70 percent of what the HOA owes to Tucson Water in water bills comes from the leaks.
However, just months ago, it was only half of their bill.
Flint told KGUN9 reporter Andrew Christiansen in September that he wasnt willing to raise HOA fees to accommodate for the uptick in bills theyve had to pay plumbers for water leaks, even though the leaks are happening more often.
Just since June theyve had to pay over $30 thousand to plumbers, and the plumbers have to turn the water off when they fix the leaks. That leaves people living there with no water for up to a day.
We are covering the costs of leak repairs through our reserve fund, Flint said.
That means the HOA fees pay back the reserve.
The engineering team the HOA hired said a new system would cost about $3 million and Flint said getting on Tucson Water would cost an additional few millions of dollars.
For two years Flint and the HOA have been trying to get a grant from the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona for a whole new water system.
WIFA said the HOA isnt a good fit for the only grant they have, which is a water conservation grant. They said the HOA needs a water system ID.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality said the HOA contacted them in August because they were interested in applying for funding from WIFA, but when asked about whether the HOA has met the requirements to get a Water System ID, they did not answer the question.
The HOA has also been working on getting the grant with State Senator Priya Sundareshan, who is in charge of the Foothills area. She said she is considering introducing legislation that would hold new developments infrastructure to Tucson Water standards.
She said while it might not help current developments, it could prevent future developments from having to go through water leak issues.
Im hoping that we get some relief and some funding to help put in a new water system before it completely, epically fails, Harding said.