Another Look At Growth Vs. Water



This letter is in response to letters of Messrs. Sokol and Willis in the Jan. 27 Roundup Mail Call regarding growth in the Payson community.

It is unfortunate they do not have the same zeal for facts and issues they seem to have for mud. Mr. Sokol's justification of "harmless" 2 to 3 percent Payson growth rate trends by simple comparison to corresponding rates of other communities is irresponsible and vain.

Consider that estimates of safe, sustained annual yield (1,826 acre-feet) and current Payson consumption (1,706 acre-feet) from the aquifer underlying the town indicate we were at 93.4 percent of safe yield in 2005 (ref. 2005 Environmental Assessment for Tonto Apache Exchange). Other estimates indicate that it will be at least 7 years (probably more, and it's not even a done deal) before Blue Ridge water might become available in Payson. Compounding a 3 percent growth rate during the critical 7-year interim gives a growth factor of 1.23. Thus, the 2005 Payson consumption rate (1,706 acre-feet) could increase to 2,098 acre-feet in 7 years, exceeding the 1,826 acre-feet safe yield estimate by 15 percent.

Will Payson wells run dry by then? If the recent return to long-term drought continues, they just might.

Pine residents are believers. How will we get out of the hole we will be in if Blue Ridge water is delayed or lost? The point Mr. Sokol is missing is that until Blue Ridge, or equivalent, water arrives, Payson growth needs to be carefully managed, not left to business as usual.

Mayoral candidate Bob Edwards has the understanding, education and background to have recognized this situation, and apparently feels frustrated enough by local apathy to have entered the election himself.

Bad water/growth regulations need revision, regardless of their age.

In regard to the need for significant growth rates to sustain the economy, I think it is deplorable that an overpopulated society in this state/nation is plagued with an economy that can only sustain itself through further growth. That is a situation out of control.

Finally, I am disgusted by the disrespect shown in the letters of Messrs. Sokol and Willis to a mayoral candidate. They would do well to pay heed to the Mail Call letter of the Rev. DeCinko in the same Roundup issue. After listening to the candidates offer their views on a range of Payson issues, I agree with others that Payson is blessed to have some of the best mayoral candidates in this election we have recently seen.

Ron Nelson, Payson

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