Council Updated On Blue Ridge Progress

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The Payson Town Council Thursday night received an overview of the C.C. Cragin (Blue Ridge Reservoir) from its beginning to the future.

Public Works Director Buzz Walker recommended to the council to delay preliminary engineering reports for six to 12 months to allow for preliminary or final environmental study results on a pipeline route.

Walker said C.C. Cragin Reservoir is about 26 miles from Payson, and that it is important to the town "in the water department business."

The town first started working on Phase I of the Blue Ridge Reservoir Utilization from 1974 to 1994.

In 1995, the town decided to revisit the issue and was allotted up to 3,000 acre-feet of water.

Walker said there is nowhere else to go for water.

He said there were myths where water could have existed, but those myths turned out to be false.

Payson was once allowed to draw water from the Diamond Point reservoir, but new regulations on the permits only allowed this if there were no other alternatives.

That alternative for Payson was the C.C. Cragin Reservoir.

Engineer LaRon Garrett explained to the council the four delivery methods that could be used to bring water from the reservoir to Payson, focusing mostly on the Design Bid Build and Design Build.

If and when the council goes out to bid, it will be done on qualification bid where the charge for the project will not be discussed until the council selects the contractor.

Payson is currently the co-owner of the Blue Ridge Reservoir with the Salt River Project, and Walker mentioned the utility company was willing to step aside if the water is not needed.

He said SRP would forego taking water from the reservoir forever if Payson could find them a water supply in the Valley.

Council member Mike Vogel wanted to know if anyone had looked at private entities where another party would own the operation and then sell the water to Payson.

"I don't know how much we would want to check out a negative," Walker said, adding he would look at all options.

When discussing where Payson would now go, Walker said three things are already in place.

  • Continue talks with SRP for water delivery agreement (3,000 acre feet of water right transferred from SRP to Payson upon entering into delivery agreement).
  • Perform an environmental study to determine if the East Houston Mesa pipeline route is feasible, which has already been approved by council.
  • Perform environmental study to obtain clearance for purchase of water treatment plant, which has also been authorized by the council.

The council will still need to select a delivery method.

Mayor Bob Edwards said right now the council wants to get the environmental study that is already under way and the council would then get back to staff.

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