Water Task Force Study Released

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The mayor's water task force will release the results of the much-anticipated water study conducted over the past several months, during a special town council meeting Thursday evening.

"They are presenting a model that helps one predict the cost and timetables of different options of long-term water supply for the town," said Town Manager Fred Carpenter.

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Lynn Godfrey

Lynn Godfrey, task force chairman, said the report will serve as a decision-making tool, providing the town council with cost and feasibility alternatives.

Mayor Bob Edwards made the study a priority when he took office in May.

"What the task force is doing is supplying us with real data, so we have executive data to make executive decisions," Edwards said. "Thursday's meeting is to give an interim report as to where we're at and where we're headed."

The information supplied by the task force -- whose membership includes engineers, scientists and mathematicians -- estimates the current water supply, the future of Payson's water supply, and possible water-saving and delivery solutions.

"I think the information is going to be very useful," said Buzz Walker, Town of Payson public works director. "It's an independent look on what we've been doing."

The breadth of information attempts to formulate a cost-benefit analysis -- one that provides the best value while averting regional water depletion.

"They're going to come back to us with recommendations on what's the best way to get there," Edwards said.

To accomplish this task, Godfrey and his committee have created an interactive database that allows stakeholders to play with the numbers.

An element of the database includes variables that identify worst- and best-case scenarios. The answers to many of the water concerns, Godfrey said, lie in somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. The ultimate goal is finding that safe-yield equation: When the absorption of rain and snow into the ground equals output.

"(The data) sharpens the focus on future water supplies in the financial areas," Walker said.

The analysis includes the cost-benefit options of four supplementary water sources: The Tower Well in Star Valley, effluent, national forest drilling and the Blue Ridge Reservoir.

Those variables include reservoir size, population and precipitation. Although past estimates have estimated the Blue Ridge project at $25 million, Godfrey said at a Nov. 20 Citizens Awareness Committee meeting, that the price tag, including interest, labor and materials could cost as much as $130 million.

Godfrey's presentation is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7 at town hall.

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