What is the CAWS' Alternative?
The flier entitled, "A Very Expensive Pig in a Poke!"-- mailed to residents or property owners in Pine/Strawberry and endorsed by "Citizens for an Adequate Water Supply" (CAWS) -- requests us to vote "NO" on the petition which incurs $12.12 million debt to solve our water problems. CAWS criticizes the petition for "vaguely stated purposes" in how the money will be spent and the debt paid off.
I also have been critical of this petition mainly because its top priority is to buy out Brooke Utilities with an apparent hostile takeover, and all this may come before drilling for additional water supplies.
The $12.12 million is supposed to acquire and upgrade the water distribution system and find more water. Where do they expect "to find more water"? They retained Payson hydrogeologist, Mike Ploughe, who stated that, "newly developed information in the Pine area has proven that groundwater is clearly developable below Pine itself, from depths much less than 2000 feet and with a significant saturated thickness of the Redwall (limestone) and units below."
Before the citizens of this district spend any money on drilling, Ploughe should share his "newly developed information" with hydrogeologist, Mike Kaczmarek, whose recent groundwater investigation indicates that "...wells penetrating the Redwall Limestone in Pine have encountered drained fractures and empty voids." Kaczmarek concluded that drilling below Pine would not provide a reliable or long-term water source, but that such a site exists west of Strawberry where "... there is reasonable expectation that the entire thickness of the Redwall Limestone is fully saturated."
When experts disagree on where best to find an adequate groundwater supply, guess who pays to find it? How many wells must be drilled before a good supply is found? What part of the $12.12 million is set aside for this? Despite the rather disturbing disparity in where to drill for water, the petition at least offers a general plan and cost for improving our water supply. At this point, the citizens of Pine/Strawberry have no choice -- it's the petition or nothing. It is time for CAWS to offer a viable alternative to the petition. What plan does CAWS propose for solving our water problem, by priority and cost?
Wes Suhr, member, PSWID Advisory Group