Re. your editorial, "Time for a regional water solution." I am always glad to see attention directed toward the "dire" water situation in the Payson area.
However, in my opinion, you have come up with the most expensive solution.
A regional solution, by definition, entails a lot more water pipe for everyone. The way things are, the pipe itself is the least of the costs. The interminable environmental impact studies, and all the bureaucracy that goes with them, are what really makes the costs go up.
I am sure that this is the reason that Buzz Walker, and his people, have been trying to find water in the Tonto Forest near Payson. They are absolutely right in this approach.
Basic logic tells us:
1. The 12,000 plus acres under Payson can furnish water for 13,000 plus people, if we use it properly.
2. God didn't put all the water under the Rim under Payson.
3. Somewhere in the nearly half million acres of the Payson Ranger District, there must be several pockets of water that would be adequate for the next 10,000 residents of Payson.
4. The same holds true for Pine and Strawberry. There must be pockets of water closer to them than they are to Payson.
5. Therefore, the most economical thing for everyone is to find the closest water.
This, of course, is all unduly complicated by the rules, real or imagined, that the Forest Service is operating under in the search for water. Whatever those rules are, they should be relaxed for municipalities, and public utilities searching for water. Once the various water options have been discovered, and everyone knows what we are each talking about, then is the time to do the environmental, archeological, etc., etc., etc. studies -- including the determination of the severance fees, that we will pay for the water, in perpetuity.
If we can do business in this fashion, all of us can have less expensive water than if we have some grand regional plan.
I don't believe your readers, generally, have any concept of what the water for the next 10,000 people is going to cost. My guess is $20 million, at the cheapest, and it could well be twice that. This means that the cost per house, for each of the roughly 4,000 houses to accommodate 10,000 more people, will range from $5,000-$10,000 per house, for water capital costs alone.
Any more expensive new water system will, of course, only increase these costs.
What most people don't realize is that we have been spoiled by cheap water rates based on a low capitalized cost of our water system.
Those days are pretty much over, and the new extra-expensive water will add dramatically to the Water Department's capital costs.
Dan Adams, Payson