Water Shortage In Payson -- Fact Or Fiction?



"Actions speak louder than words" is such a common saying that almost everybody has heard it and used it. The mayor, council, town manager, public works director and others have all said we are facing a water "crisis" (shortage). They have raised the water rates. Was this to decrease consumption, or to raise revenue?

I have spoken at town council meetings several times, mostly about water and environmental issues. They have all been respectful and listened to the message, but not much has changed except water rates. Look at these facts and draw your own conclusion as to whether there is a water shortage in Payson.

1. The town issued building permits for a bunch of multi-family buildings on South McLane, in an area that should have been used as a wetlands (flood plain) in order to put more water back into our aquifer.

2. Some "well connected" people in town are still talking about (promoting) the idea of "channelizing" the area south of Main to get even more space for development (water use) and send even more of our scarce water to the Valley, where their per capita use is approximately three times the rate in Payson.

3. I have suggested to the Roundup and certain town officials that there should be a weekly column in the paper written by town staff, and/or Roundup staff, dedicated to sharing specific "how-to" details of conserving water. It would be one or two paragraphs weekly. Have you seen it? I haven't either.

4. I suggested several other options regarding keeping more rain water in Payson, including requiring disconnecting downspouts from conductors that run into ditches. Dumping water from roofs directly into ditches contributes to erosion and flooding. Mandatory changes are legal and are within the scope of a town ordinance.

5. I have also heard that EPA is in the process of requiring all local governments to eliminate pollution from streets, parking lots, etc. from getting into streams and rivers. This is another valid use of a flood plain (wetland/marsh) that would also put more water into the aquifer.

I have modified my property so that it retains a very high percentage of all precipitation. As a commitment to Payson, I now offer to do free environmental consulting in the Payson area by telephone, or in person as my time permits.

Mike Voden, Payson

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