Two Towns At Odds Over Safe Yield Study

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The towns of Payson and Star Valley have different views about the results of a safe yield study released last week.

The study revealed that there is water to use from the Tower Well, with no detrimental effects to Star Valley's watershed.

On Tuesday night, the Star Valley council rejected the study. On Thursday night, the Payson council accepted it unanimously.

The study, researched by the Scottsdale firm Clear Creek Associates at a cost of $50,000 to the Town of Payson, outlines the physical settings, geological framework, hydrologic and hydrogeologic conditions and the evaluation of the safe yield, as it relates to the Tower Well.

The Payson Town Council Thursday night heard a presentation from Doug Bartlett and Paul Plato of Clear Creek Associates, and the council accepted the report unanimously.

Plato said the study is a beginning point for the two towns.

Plato then addressed the town's water supply.

"There appears to be adequate water for the future," he said. "There is water available here."

Developing a water management plan was also discussed, and Plato mentioned it should be a joint effort between the two towns.

The town's hydrologist, Mike Ploughe, said when taking all water into account, including C.C. Cragin Reservoir, the town would have more than 8,200 acre feet.

"We are safe, but we would still have to be wise," Payson Mayor Bob Edwards said.

Councilor Andy Romance complimented Clear Creek Associates on its work and presentation.

"I prefer a science-based document that we can use for years, and I think we reached (that tonight)," he said.

Edwards said it matters little whether the Town of Star Valley decides to accept the report.

He said before the study began, Star Valley agreed with the company to do the study as well as the scope.

"They went out and did the study, and (Star Valley) did not like the results of the study, so they are turning it down," he said. "There seems to be no end (to this). We, in good faith, did the study."

Edwards stressed that the study is owned and funded by Payson.

He said the study was never about the Tower Well, but whether using it would affect Star Valley's watershed.

Edwards said he would be willing to meet with Star Valley if it would lead to an agreement.

"We would meet with them if the meetings had a purpose," he said. "I am not going to waste my time. If there is a reason to meet, and it can be productive, I would meet."

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