Conservation Is A Small Price To Pay

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Only twice in the past 10 years has precipitation in the Rim country been normal or above.

That's an important fact to keep in mind as yet another winter storm system drenches us with a mix of rain, snow, mud, leaky roofs, flooding, closed crossings and various other unpleasantries.

You may be miserable. You may be fed up with it all. You may be praying for a little sunshine.

Just remember: until we have a few solid years in a row like last year -- when we exceeded normal precipitation of 22 inches by a little more than 10 percent -- we are still somewhere within the confines of a protracted drought of undetermined length and severity.

Will it happen? Could this finally be the turning point? Maybe, but not likely, according to Payson's leading water experts, Public Works Director Buzz Walker and Hydrologist Mike Ploughe.

"Typically you have a pretty wet period within the middle of a long-term dry cycle, so this could just be another one of those bumps within a dry cycle," Ploughe said.

Since Walker and Ploughe are primarily responsible for making sure something happens when you turn on a faucet, you certainly can understand why it's business as usual over at the water department. That means we are still at water conservation level 3 until the 2005 water status report in April gives them a big-picture look at where we stand relative to a year ago. That means no new grass, no hosing sidewalks and driveways, no watering native plants, no watering between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., alternative day watering only, no car washing unless you own a high pressure washer, and no refilling of pools, spas or wading pools.

Most important, it means no fugitive water (water that runs off your property) and no wasting water (letting it run while you brush your teeth, for example).

Walker and Ploughe, with the support of the town council are doing exactly what they should be doing. And when and if Blue Ridge Reservoir water eases the situation, they are thinking about leaving the very same restrictions in place.

There will be public pressure to do otherwise, but we hope they stay the course.

So put on that rain slicker and do your best to slog on. But remember not to waste water.

No matter how wet it is outside, it's a small price to pay for the assurance that water comes out when you turn on the faucet.

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