by Tina Terry
Reading your latest article on The Great Payson Tonto National Forest Water Exploration Saga, you quote Buzz Walker as stating: "This isn't about agriculture anymore," and "Agriculture has been replaced by development."
Therefore, Mr. Walker argues, Payson should have all the rights to the water the SRP is claiming. indeed, Payson should be able to access all the water that can be found in the adjacent forest.
It was Mr. Walker and his town cohorts who sanctioned the development of not one, but two, private golf courses at Chaparral Pines and The Rim each course presently using, so I'm told, between 500,000 and over a million gallons of ground water per day.
How many hundreds of millions of gallons of ground water have these developments used since their inception? None of the "greens" being watered on these golf courses have anything to do with salad confirming, as Mr. Walker states, that agriculture has been replaced by development ... in this case, extremely and irresponsibly water-intensive development.
Mr. Walker is further quoted as stating: "Down (in) the desert. there is plenty of water. up here where the water originates, we can't use it because of 100-year-old water rights."
I'd like to remind Mr. Walker of this fact: Up here in the high desert, there could be plenty of water for both present and responsible development needs, up here where the water originates - but we can't use it because: a) Payson sold its CAP water rights to Scottsdale, and b) Mr. Walker & Company sanctioned and continue to sanction the use of a couple million gallons a day, day after day, year after year, of potable water, right from up here where the water originates, to keep two big private golf courses constantly green even when there's often extreme fire danger in our entire area, local residents are told to conserve water, and Mr. Walker now wants to drill Mayfield Canyon and perhaps beyond.
Mr. Walker says that he hopes "that some day reason will prevail." We citizens supporting the Diamond Star Citizens' Action Coalition couldn't agree more. It's just that our idea of "reason" concerning the stewardship of water resources is far more conservative (from the root word "conserve") than that of Mr. Walker.
From Mr. Walker's past actions supporting profligate water-waste, as well as his present irritation about not being able to drill wherever and whenever he wants, it sure looks to me as if he never met a development he didn't like, no matter how much water it uses.
If Mr. Walker is so sure that his beloved drilling proposals will not injure either the forest or the private wells of citizens, then he and others promoting this bold scheme should be required to back their efforts by posting personal bonds to compensate for any losses which occur as a result of the drilling. Since the people trying to protect their property and promote wise stewardship of our water resources have already put their money where their mouths are, I suggest that Mr. Walker, et al, do likewise.