Making Every Drop Count

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With its forbidding title and 14-page length, the "Town of Payson Groundwater Management 2002 Status Short Report" is hardly a light read.

And as you might suspect, among its tables, charts and graphs, there is data to back up just about any position you want to take on the water supply issue.

But this latest update does contain one fact we can all consider good news after relentlessly trending upward, daily per capita water consumption actually dropped in 2001. The average resident of Payson used 95 gallons per day last year, down from 98 gallons per day in 2000.

Town hydrogeologist Mike Ploughe isn't sure how much of that decrease is due to conservation and how much to a wet August that reduced the need for outdoor watering a major drain on our water supply. But the town isn't taking any chances.

One of 39 objectives in the Corporate Strategic Plan adopted by the council Thursday evening calls for the implementation of "water conservation measures to reduce peak demand and maintain yearly average consumption at 92 gallons per person per day."

Among the strategies the town plans to implement over the next two years to achieve that objective is a water rate increase for residents who consume more than 5,000 gallons a month, more aggressive conservation measures, lowering the density of residential development, using only artificial turf at new park ballfields, and formulating a drought management plan that would mandate reduced consumption during drought conditions.

Through these measures, the town is setting an important example. It's up to each and every one of us to do all we can to maintain the downward consumption trend.

As Councilmember Hoby Herron recently observed, we really don't know how much water is in the ground. What we do know is that every gallon we save today is a gallon that will be there tomorrow.

Every drop really does count.

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