Conservation Is The Only Solution

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Editor:

With regard to your Tuesday, Nov. 11 article on "Blue Ridge Water Posing a Challenge for (Gila) County," I wouldn't hold my breath in waiting for a fair and equitable distribution of that water to Gila County and Payson.

Like the dominant water relationship of the Los Angeles Water Department in California, Arizona is found in the same predicament with Maricopa County and the greater Phoenix metropolitan area's burgeoning growth and population concentration.

As a 43-year resident of Arizona, I've seen the water wars played out in Arizona, from Salt River Project's dominance in the northern Arizona watershed ("Arizona Grows Where Water Flows"), the conception, construction and operation of the Central Arizona Project, and now Gila County's "pipe-dream" of tapping into the SRP-controlled Blue Ridge Reservoir.

With more than 85 percent of the voting electorate in Arizona residing in Maricopa County, legislative and electorate clout on the state and federal level will, in my view, prevent Gila County from receiving any water from this source.

Furthermore, Gila County has not demonstrated wise water usage and conservation policies in the past and present. For example:

-- The State of Arizona has had to step in and issue a building moratorium on Pine and Strawberry for over-building and overusing its groundwater supply by over 100 percent recently, (770 homes permitted with more than 1,700 homes built);

-- The state of Arizona, Gila County and the town of Globe having to recently pay damages to the San Carlos Indian Tribe for illegal use of their groundwater by "horizontally" drilling illegally from Globe's town limits into San Carlos Indian Reservation groundwater wells;

-- The town of Payson recently drilling a 1,000-foot well to tap (illegally or legally?) into the neighboring Star Valley's ground water supply, apparently to "water farm" from its neighbors for the sake of placating avaricious real estate developers in the "wildfire-central region" of Arizona.

Judicious water conservation policies as have been heretofore demonstrated by town of Payson water department is the only answer to Payson and Gila County's water dilemma.

Bill Kuamoo, Valley National Bank vice-president (retired), Motorola, Inc. director (retired), Payson

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