Day-Long Meeting To Examine Water, College

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Water and Gila Community College will dominate the agenda when the Gila County Board of Supervisors meets in Payson at 9 a.m. Tuesday on the campus of the Gila Community College.

Leslie Meyers, study manager for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, will present the preliminary results of the long-awaited U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) water study. District 1 Supervisor Tommie Martin requested the update.

The study, which has been going on for three years, was originally designed to bring together all existing research and studies on water in the Rim Country.

It was co-funded by the BOR, Gila County and the Town of Payson, among others.

Two specific elements that could play an important role in solving the region's water problems will be addressed.

"We want to talk about Blue Ridge and where it fits into this, and I also want to talk about the ADOT wells going out Highway 260 that they've been using for construction," Martin said. "I want to talk about where those wells could fit in."

The idea, according to Martin, is to attempt to depoliticize the water issue.

"I want us to be looking at water as a resource first and as a commodity second," Martin said.

The other thing Martin would like to see depoliticized is the college.

"We need to stop doing that," she said.

"That college is so important to us in so many ways. It is a stepping stone to true economic development."

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