Water Arguments Derailed By Facts



It was painfully embarrassing to watch Councilman Heron and his supporters struggle at the last council meeting. Hoping to perpetuate the myth that Payson has a water crisis, they ran into an unexpected brick wall in the form of some factual information from Payson Public Works Director Buzz Walker and Town Hydrologist Michael Ploughe.

According to their information, Payson's water consumption is approaching and may reach our estimated safe yield number of 1,826-acre feet per year in a few more years. This ultra-conservative half of the possible amounts of water under Payson per the Southwest Groundwater Study. Reaching the safe yield number does not mean we are out of water.

The worst case scenario for Payson, per the most conservative calculations by Mr. Walker, indicates Payson will not deplete our groundwater under Payson until 2021 when our population may be 25,338. That scenario is so conservative that it assumes Payson will not add one drop of new water from the Tonto National Forest, private property in Gila County, the Blue Ridge Reservoir, or the Rumsey Re-charge Project during the next 19 years.

These new water facts certainly put a new perspective on our situation and should reduce the hysteria and misinformation about a "water crisis" that does not exist.

Water really isn't the real issue, though. Growth is the issue. Misinformation, scare tactics and petitions about moratoriums are just tools of choice by the anti-growth folks in their effort to "shut the door" to others who want to move to Payson.

Jim Spencer, Payson

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