After reading letters published by your paper disparaging the Payson town council, Staff, Mike Horton and the development community in general, I am compelled to respond. Having lived and worked in the Payson area for 20 years, I believe I am somewhat familiar with water issues and their impact on our community.
Groundwater supplies and development are obviously closely connected. The Salt River Project claims rights to all the surface water in the Salt and Gila River Basins. Consequently, all of our surface water ends up in the Valley, where a lot of it is wasted. We are now partnering with the Salt River Project to obtain water from Blue Ridge. Right now, all of our potable water comes from the ground. About 10 years ago our council created ordinances requiring developers to find new water and put it in the Payson water system to get their project approved. Up to a few years ago, new water could still be found under Payson. Now all the water under Payson is already part of the Payson water supply.
By developing a new water source in Star Valley, Terra Development is providing water for development as required. The Star Valley Coalition says it's their water. The water under Star Valley doesn't belong to anyone until it's brought to the surface and put to beneficial use. Then it belongs to the person who uses it. Studies were conducted to determine how much water could be pumped without affecting neighboring wells. The local economy needs the building industry to provide jobs, support local business, and keep property taxes from escalating. The people in Star Valley shop and go to school in Payson. If home building disappears, some of them will be forced to leave the community. I'm not certain the coalition represents them.
Several years ago our firm prepared a Water Master Plan for the City of Globe. Globe gets almost all of its potable water from the Cutter Basin, which is mostly on the San Carlos Apache Reservation. The San Carlos Apaches and the City of Globe reached an agreement to share water. The Payson town council has gone the extra mile in an attempt to reach an agreement with the Star Valley Coalition. They even agreed to conduct a "Safe Yield" study for Star Valley. Shame on the Star Valley Coalition for dividing our community rather than working with the council to reach a compromise that would be in the best interests of us all.
Ralph Bossert, Payson