Star Valley To Dispute Water Study

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The Payson Town Council will discuss accepting the estimation of the safe yield study that was released last week.

At Thursday's meeting, there will be a presentation of the Star Valley Safe Yield study completed by Clear Creek Associates, at a cost of $50,000 to the Town of Payson.

Payson Mayor Bob Edwards said it was his understanding that both towns agreed to abide by the study, which might not be the case.

Following the release of the report, the Star Valley Council scheduled a work study meeting at 5:30 p.m. today and one of the agenda items are issues dealing with the "safe yield study released by the Town of Payson."

Edwards said Star Valley appears to disagree with the findings.

"They certainly seem to have some questions about it," he said. Star Valley originally agreed to the use of Clear Creek Associates and agreed to abide by the findings.

"I guess my question is, why ask us to do it if you are not going to believe it?" Edwards said. "Hopefully, we will get some calmer minds."

Calls to Star Valley Mayor Chuck Heron were not returned by press time.

The Star Valley Watershed Safe Yield study revealed that it is theoretically possible to capture 4,300 acre-feet of groundwater outflow from the Star Valley area without causing long-term declines in regional water levels.

However, according the executive summary that was released this week, it would not be realistic to capture the entire outflow from the basin without declines in localized water levels.

The results of the study revealed:

  • Approximately 4,300 acre-feet is available in the watershed, based on the average precipitation of 21.53 inches a year.
  • Safe yield is an average value reflecting long-term precipitation rates from 50 to 100 years.
  • The approximate population of Star Valley is 2,500 residents. Using 100 gallons per person per day as an estimate of water use, the annual groundwater demand would be 280 acre-feet.
  • Taking into account the pump rate from the Mayfield Canyon Well of approximately 100-acre feet per year, the total demand would be 380-acre feet per year.
  • There would be, in addition, some use from the Payson wells in Chaparral Pines.

The council will also discuss revisions to the implementation of a Design Review Board in a first reading.

The Payson Town Council meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. in the town hall chambers, 303 N. Beeline Highway.

See related story:
Water study released (March 30, 2007))

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