Water Woes Nearing End, Says Mayor

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Payson Mayor Bob Edwards said the Town of Payson is not in a water crisis.

Nevertheless, he cautioned, residents should maintain their conservationist ways.

"We are in good shape, but at the same time we are in the desert," he said. "We need to remain conservative."

Edwards discussed the current status of water levels and the progress the town has made in securing a long-term water solution for Northern Gila County at a press conference Wednesday.

The town is working to procure an agreement with the Salt River Project to secure up to 3,500 acre-feet of water per year for Northern Gila County from the Blue Ridge Reservoir.

Of the 3,500 acre-feet, 3,000 would be used for the Town of Payson and the remaining portion would be used for other communities, such as Star Valley, in Northern Gila County, Edwards said.

Payson currently uses about 2,600 acre-feet of groundwater each year, made possible by wells spread around town.

The acquisition of the Blue Ridge supply, along with Payson's current groundwater supply "is sufficient to service Payson's maximum anticipated population," according to a release Edwards handed out at the meeting.

Edwards said town officials have made "real good progress" in negotiations with SRP.

He estimated that an agreement between the two entities would be reached before the end of 2008.

"The whole SRP thing is moving along nicely," he said.

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