Star Valley To Facilitate County Water Coalition

Committee will include 12 members


Star Valley seems to be heading the charge for a regional water solution.

The town formally authorized the formation of a regional water coalition committee at Tuesday night's council meeting.

The committee is to include 12 members from various areas involved in the water debates.

Mayor Chuck Heron said the committee's membership is not completely finalized but will likely be completed in the next two weeks.

The group will likely hold its first meeting the first week of October, Heron said.

Members thus far include committee chairman Chris Benjamin and Gary Coon of the Star Valley Water coalition, Heron and Star Valley councilor Bill Rappaport, Ed Welge, representing the Town of Payson, Rich Martin, a retired land-use manager with the U.S. Forest Service and Paul Hendricks, Central Arizona Project director.

Members to be named will include, a citizen of Star Valley who uses Brooke Utilities, an employee with Gila County, a member of the Tonto Apache Tribe, a representative from the Arizona Department of Water Resources and a Brooke Utilities employee.

A representative from Star Valley's hydrology firm, LFR, will also assist the progress of the committee.

According to the resolution, the committee's tasks will include the exploration, development and management of ground water resources. It will work with neighboring communities to establish a long-term water solution for the area.

The committee will also pursue the development and distribution of surface water from all available sources and implement the Healthy Forest Restoration Act of 2003 to reduce the effects of evapo-transpiration loss.

Heron said that the major focus of the committee would be to "move from safe yield to sustainable safe yield."

Heron admitted that the committee would likely gear itself toward Star Valley issues but also look at the bigger picture as well.

"Our primary focus will be on what (Star Valley) is doing and how we're doing it," he said. "Then we'll look at how it affects Gila County."

"We're trying to set rural Arizona outside of water management areas, a concept by which communities work together," he added.

Star Valley Council Calendar

Sept. 18, 5:30 - 8 p.m.

Town council meeting and/or work study will be at the Star Valley Baptist Church, 4180 E. Highway 260.

Sept. 20, 6 - 8: p.m.

Roads and Streets Committee meeting will be at Town Hall, 3632 E. Highway 260.

Oct. 2, 5:30 - 8 p.m.

Regular council meeting and/or work study

Regular meeting will be at 6:30 pm and if scheduled work study at 5:30 p.m.

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