Residents' Water Wasting Must Come To An End

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You can almost feel your throat tighten and your tongue begins to feel parched as you talk about water shortage. It makes you thirsty to think about cutting back.

When we hear about Payson taking measures to conserve water as a town -- offering free installation of water-saving dishwashing nozzles, offering free controlled-flow showerheads and rebates on water-efficient washing machines -- it makes us realize just how serious the issue is for us.

Even though we live at 5,000 feet surrounded by ponderosa pine trees, we are still in the high desert and we must adjust our lifestyle to our surroundings.

In the United States, we tend to feel entitled to use as much as we want and throw away whatever we cannot use. We drive distances that we could walk. We accept a paper cup with a cardboard holder for our coffee when we could just as easily have brought a mug from home. And we let the water run in the sink while we wait for the perfect temperature to wash our hands.

While we fight over water rights and wells, we let gallons pour down the drain.

But these are not the times and this is not the town where we can be wasteful. In many ways, this is the land of plenty, but in many ways it is not.

We can get angry, pointing our fingers at the green golf courses of Phoenix, or we can accept the situation we are in and treat our water as the limited and shared resource that it is.

In Payson, we are lucky to have a forward-thinking public works department that searches out ways for us to conserve water as a community.

In years to come, water will be the new oil. Wars will be fought and, as we have already witnessed, communities will be divided.

But as our front page headline says, our water problems are not so overwhelming that they cannot be solved "one dirty plate at a time."

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