Drought Knows No Bounds


There's nothing like a few 100-degree days in the middle of an extended drought to bring the Rim country's water shortage to the fore.

Toss in the water conservation revisions that are on the town council agenda Thursday evening and the meeting of the Diamond Star Citizens Action Coalition last night, and water -- or, more specifically, the lack of it -- is on all of our minds.

Coalition leader Chuck Heron opened the Diamond Star meeting -- a continuation of the group's battle to prevent the town from drilling exploratory wells on Forest Service property -- with a broad overview of the situation in which we, and much of the West, find ourselves.

"We're here because we're on the wrong side of the mountain," Heron began. "You might think I'm talking about the ridge that separates Star Valley, Dealers Choice, Diamond Point Shadows, and Lion Springs from the town of Payson."

Heron said he was referring instead to the Continental Divide. As part of the seven basin states that comprise the desert southwest, Arizona and the Rim country find themselves in the midst of a drought that is worse at this time than any recorded in the last 1,500 years. While experts don't agree on the cause of the drought or whether we're in the middle of a 20-year drought or in the embryonic stages of a 50-year drought, there's little doubt that we have one nasty spell ahead of us.

"All too often, we react with temporary solutions that can be harmful to others," Heron told the 125 Rim country residents in attendance last night.

As an example, he cited California's petition to redirect the portion of Colorado River water used to irrigate crops in the Imperial Valley to San Diego.

"It has been said that water belongs to all of us, and it really does," Heron said. "But often this term is used to mean what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine, too."

Heron, of course, also was referring to the town's proposal to drill exploratory wells under the Diamond Rim, a move his group opposes for fear they will draw down or dry up the wells of nearby residents.

But in painting the picture in broad strokes, Heron also reminds us of the severity of the situation we find ourselves in. And from his presentation, a simple truth emerges.

It's easy to blame others for something that makes us feel so helpless. If you're a private well owner, it's tempting to feel put upon or question the motives of those who are trying to bring our community through the drought intact.

But we're all in this together, and we're going to be in it for a long time. If we don't work together to get through it, we may not have enough water to last.

This is no time for water fights.

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