by Judy Buettner
A few people in Payson are using their own interpretation of the words "safe yield," as it is stated in the "Town of Payson Ground Water Management 2001 Status Report," dated April 12, 2001, prepared by Michael Ploughe of the Town of Payson Water Department, for their own agenda.
The water report uses past trends to update progress of the comprehensive management objective began in 1998. The "2001 Status Report" is basically stating., "This is where we are going with what we have to work with." Actually, if you asked the author of the 2001 report when "safe yield" will occur, he would probably state, "We don't know for certain."
Also you may learn that the water taps in Payson will not go dry on the day "safe yield" is reached, if it is ever reached!
The word "if" is used throughout the 2001 report, and if you check with Mr. Webster's Dictionary, you will find that "if" means: in case that, supposing that, source uncertain, etc. Therefore, it would be irresponsible for anyone to state firmly when "safe yield" will occur, and when future development should be stopped. In fact, long before the current town council was elected to office, the town was partnering with developers, in a cost effective method of obtaining water which saved Payson taxpayers considerable tax dollars, as well as obtaining additional sources of water for the town. Curtailing development would stop a valuable source of water.
The most responsible plan the Town of Payson Water Department could develop is to obtain water for ground water reserves for the future growth of Payson. A percentage of the source of future water will come from the National Forest. After all, the town of Flagstaff receives 95 percent of their water from the National Forest.
There are many factors that will influence when, or even if, "safe yield" will ever be reached. Future snow pack and rainfall and water usage, are directly tied to the natural and unpredictable occurrences of recharge to the Payson Granite Aquifer. Exploration for future water sources is the most dependable method of building future reserves and also meeting current demands of growth.
Payson Roundup reporter Jim Keyworth hit the nail on the head in his Sept. 9, 2002 Rim Review article when he stated, "We have beat the water issue to a bloody stub."
The water situation, which is not a crises, should be left in the capable hands of the Payson Water Department, which will still be pursing water regardless of who is on the town council.