When I read about the latest plans of the Payson council and the town manager in the taking of water from the Randall/Haught well in Star Valley and delivering it to the town's water lines for use in several various ways, including subdivider Horton's subdivisions and "cushion" for the town's water commitments, I was appalled at the audacity in their even thinking for a moment that the actions were honorable, fair and morally right.
Though I am told that there is a law stating that ground water belongs to the owner of the real property involved, I sincerely believe that this does not give the owner of that water the right to transfer that water to another community if there is probable endangerment of water well and water supply depletion or even elimination.
Any detriment to wells or water supply of Star Valley residents would be the responsibility of the town, its manager, Horton subdivisions, et al, and any property owners involved in the water transfer. In my humble opinion, they could all be the subject of a permissible lawsuit.
I believe that the endangerment of any Star Valley wells, or water supply, would be unlawful and subject to class action, or personal, lawsuits. Towns and cities have been held responsible for improper actions in civil losses, unnecessary deaths of potential criminals and were required to pay large settlement sums for their actions.
Each of the above-mentioned contributors to the water transfer from Star Valley to Payson were involved in the entire transaction.
It amounts to this: A contract signed for the building of three subdivisions, without the availability of water within the town, has caused the city to resort to the taking of water from Star Valley area to supply that improper water need for the three subdivisions, and to avoid law suit from developer Horton and Randall/Haught, which would be quite costly.
Those damaged will be Star Valley well owners if Star Valley water is eventually transferred to Payson. I know that the well owners of Star Valley will do everything possible to keep their water and property values. This Randall/Haught well is a deep well and is expected to flow about 520 gallons per minute, much more than the wells of Star Valley citizen residents. Payment to Randall/Haught is in the amount of $750,000.
In my opinion, this will not stop with one well. It will require much water for the type of expansion that the council has shown they are employing without a proper backup water supply within the city. The extra-required water supply to provide for the expansion should certainly not come from a neighboring community's living water supply.
Bill Kollenborn, Payson