Jeff Durbin, water resource specialist for the Town of Payson, is part of a team that oversees the town's most valuable commodity -- water.
"Mike (Ploughe) finds it. Karen (Probert) makes sure it meets water quality standards, and I take care of the demand," Durbin says. "We don't want to waste any water up here. It's such a valuable resource."
Durbin is reaching out to the public through the media -- radio spots, public access television and the newspaper -- to get information out about water conservation. But Durbin realizes he has to get the public's attention in more ways than one.
He went to Public Works Director Buzz Walker and told his boss that he needed a gimmick.
"We wanted a retro look," Durbin said.
So the town's water department had Keith Lierman of Fiesta Business Products in Payson create a mascot. But they wanted the little blue drip to be more than a picture on a coffee mug or a frisbee. They began a search for a stand-up kind of guy and looked everywhere.
"We found it in China," Durbin said. "The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Department of the Interior, said they'd pay for him if we got the message out to conserve water."
Durbin is now holding a contest to name the little blue drop of water the department found to promote its water conservation campaign.
"He's on all our coffee cups, T-shirts, and frisbees -- everything," Durbin said.
Durbin takes the items with him when he speaks about water conservation to businesses, groups and classrooms.
"That's our outreach awareness program, to get the message out that water conservation is important," he said.
He also performs free water-use audits and surveys for residents and business owners who want to conserve water and save money on their water bills.
"I recommend changing fixtures, putting in low flow shower fixtures and aerators for kitchen sinks, check toilets for any leaks," he said. "And we strongly encourage the use of low-water-use and native plants in town. We have a list of these plants at the water department."
Anyone who would like Durbin to come to their home or business to perform a water audit can call him at the Payson Water Department at 474-5242, extension 379.
To suggest a name for the water department's new mascot, e-mail Durbin at jdurbin@ ci.payson.az.us.