Town Needs New, Vigorous Approach To Water

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Editor:

As in almost all prior examples of the letters you've published from Dan Adams, the fiscal data in his "Letter to Sen. Jon Kyl" (Roundup, Aug. 27) appears thoughtful, accurate and helpful. Certainly, if and when the town of Payson finds sufficient water for its present 15,000 (approx.) population, its parks and three golf courses, its population will have increased well toward the next 10,000. And, it seems likely that the town may continue to remain behind the curve of supplies vs. demands all along the way.

Still behind, it would seem, with or without further exploratory drilling on private or USFS lands, a second aqueduct from Blue Ridge Reservoir (which already supplies much of the East Verde River water), pumping from Fossil Springs, Roosevelt Lake or wherever. And certainly, with or without assistance from "distant sources" even including wherever Sen. Kyl's office might wish to put yet another oar in the water (most any of us can come up with better uses for the senator and his staff, in or out of an election year!).

Statements that the town had made every effort to "use it right" were used in part to justify last year's extravagant, ill-conceived proposal (hopefully ill-fated, as well) to drill some 20 wells ("exploratory" but production-sized) on national forest lands through and beneath the existing Star Valley-Diamond Point Shadows aquifer. [Perhaps that proposal was one of those attributed to Payson Ranger District's Ed Armenta as having "some caveats concerning obviously inappropriate well sites"].

Proposals for the town to drill on the national forest lands are not new the Payson Water Department has already used sizable amounts of the town's budget for a number of years (Mr. Adams could research the amounts, percentages and sources). Rates for water have skyrocketed, especially for larger amounts when used by individual homes.

In the meantime, no serious, successful town plan for limited water use by developments or by population limits or of the acres of grass on nearby golf courses (mostly private and hidden from view) or in city parks (widely enjoyed by many of its citizens) has been adopted and enforced.

Also in the meantime, the list of those previously responsible has grown to include a mayor (who retired), a city manager (who moved to a wetter climate!) and a town council (replaced by the electorate). [But the water department seems intact and well.]

Mr. Adams is correct that a new and more vigorous approach is indicated for the town; but does the town need the assistance of its junior senator?

Carroll M. Elmore, Payson

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