I would like to belatedly concur with your support for Buzz Walker and Mike Ploughe in your column "Conservation is a small price to pay," in the Jan. 4 issue of the Roundup.
I have been periodically following up on the 12 wells that were used as a base in the "Town of Payson report on water" in March of 1999. The level of these wells has declined, on average, at least 35 percent in the ensuing 56 months. The real problem, of course, is that no one knows where the bottom of the various aquifers is under the town. We do know, from the Southwest Groundwater study of 1998 that the further down we go the less interstices there are to contain water. In other words, the further down we go, the more the area under us is solid granite. This means we have used up more than 35 percent of whatever reservoir of water we had under us in 1999.
More to the point, even with rainfall, that exceeded the last 30 years average, and with the restrictions on water use imposed by the town, we still depleted the reservoir of the 12 benchmark wells by 3 percent in the first 10 months of 2004.
So we are well advised to wait until spring, to see what the beneficial winter period brings us in additional, retainable water.
Lest anyone think that all the building going on all around us means that there are many more people coming to Payson and using up our water, I don't think that is the case.
I don't think anyone knows exactly how many people are living in Payson. However, we do know how many children are in school, and during the last two years the school population has declined by 112 pupils, or approximately 4 percent.
So, we are back where we were five years ago. We have less water in reserve than we had then. We are still using water faster than it is being replenished, even in a good moisture year. It will certainly be at least five years before we get any water from outside the town, and probably it will take longer than that.
We have no plan to make newcomers pay for the very expensive new water that they require. So, we will all pay for it. Finally, we have no money saved over the last five years to pay for the expensive water we knew we were going to need. We spent all the money on things that weren't as essential as water.
Don Adams, Payson