Parched Payson Hunkers Down, Awaits Monsoons

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The town's water department is hunkering down for a long, hot, dry summer.

Public Works Director Buzz Walker says the town's wells are holding their own, but there's still a month to go at best before any relief is in sight. And while town hydro-geologist Mike Ploughe says the long-range forecasts call for a near-normal monsoon, we all know just how erratic and unpredictable Mother Nature can be.

To play it safe, Walker intends to ask the council to override the town ordinance that links water conservation stages to production capacity. His thinking is that it's a little late to worry about getting through the summer once the system starts falling behind.

And while Walker puts the current drought in a historical perspective, he also cites the fact that consumption is up dramatically over a year ago. In April of 2001, the town pumped 36 million gallons. In April of 2002, it pumped 49 million gallons.

We applaud the foresight of Walker, Ploughe and the rest of the town's water braintrust in taking pre-emptive measures that are most certainly in the best interests of the town and, for that matter, all of the Rim country.

But they can only do so much. The town council can only do so much.

In the end, how well we survive the summer of 2002, no matter how long it takes for significant precipitation to fall on the Rim country, is up to us each and every one of us.

It doesn't matter where we live or where we get our water even from a private well. We must all make the necessary sacrifices, even if that means fewer flowers and dry wading pools.

It has long been said that you can't legislate morality. It's something that has to come from within.

The town council can and must give Walker the support he needs. But so must we without waiting for the council to deliberate and act.

As the Bible says, "water spilt on the ground ... cannot be gathered up again."

Or, as the water department puts it, "Every drop counts."

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