Spend More Time Resolving Water Woes, Less Laying Blame

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In your (May 26) article, "Pine ordered to save water," Mr. Robert Hardcastle of Brooke Utilities reportedly commended local residents for observing water restrictions and found "high consumption by weekend residents ... troubling."

As weekend residents, or flatlanders as I've heard we're affectionately called, we have some facts for Payson, Pine, Gila County and Brooke Utilities to consider.

We spend 30 to 50 days each year in the Payson-Pine area. We purchased existing homes rather than add to demand on limited resources. Our homes were remodeled by local contractors. Materials and supplies were purchased from local businesses. As small business owners, we support local businesses.

Because we have homes here, we do not charge travel or lodging expenses to our clients in the area. We frequent area restaurants.

We contributed to the installation of the siren in Pine, contribute to the search and rescue program and the Payson schools, where we have no children in attendance.

We not only try to be reasonable with our water usage, we have brought water up from the Valley when Pine has been at stages 4 and 5.

When we were looking for property in the area, we were told that since the water companies had consolidated under Brooke Utilities, the water problems we had heard about were in the past. We had no reason to be concerned.

Payson and Gila County were drilling new wells and developing a plan to control growth. In fact we've seen little if any effort to control growth or prevent developments from adding significantly to the demands for the area's water.We enjoyed the craft shows in Pine and Payson last weekend. Your rodeo is great, too. We are looking forward to the Strawberry Festival. In fact, the chamber of commerce, elected officials and the media do a fantastic job of promoting the events that draw the visitors who use the water. The talk of severe water shortages continues.

We pay our taxes without local representation and our fees to Brooke Utilities for 365 days of service a year, making our actual rates seven to eight times that of year-round residents. When we and others like us retire and live in the Payson-Pine area six to nine months each year, how will the increased demand for services be met? It appears to us that more time needs to be spent resolving the water related problems and less time spent trying to place blame. The new highway brings us closer together. The area will continue to grow and the demands on resources increase. Our weekend visits are not the root cause of the (area's) water problems, but we, too, will pay the price for poor planning.

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