It didn't take long for the Arizona Department of Water Resources to enter our debate on water ownership.
In a recent Payson Roundup, Jack Lavelle, Public Information Officer, ADWR, cites ARS 45-141 to support Tom Garrett's opinion on the public ownership of groundwater. ARS 45-141, however, is titled "The Public Nature of the Use of Surface Water."
Our debate is about groundwater ownership, not surface water ownership. Everyone in the Rim Country should already know who claims the right to all of our surface water.
The Salt River Project claims ownership of all the surface water runoff from the Salt and Verde river basins so they can use it in Phoenix. That's why we can't impound surface water to supplement our water supply.
So far, the private rights to groundwater ownership haven't been taken from us. Anyone who takes the risk to drill and develop a well is entitled to the water produced by that well. I'm certain that right will someday be challenged by SRP, ADWR or the CAP. Let's hope they aren't successful. We've given up too much water already.
Ralph Bossert, Payson