Payson Town Council Plans To Stash Water Underground

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Everyone knows by now that Payson will be awash in water from the Blue Ridge Reservoir in three or four years.

But the arrival of some 3,000 acre-feet of clear, clean mountain water will not only more than double the town’s water supply — it will require far-reaching and expensive changes in its plumbing. So the Payson Town Council on Thursday at its regular meeting starting at 5:30 p.m. will consider awarding a $260,000 contract to design a $1.5 million system to put much of that Blue Ridge water into the town’s underground water table — which has fallen more than 100 feet due to pumping from the town’s wells.

The plan calls changing the plumbing on several of the town’s existing wells so that the town’s engineers can inject 1,500 gallons per minute from the Blue Ridge pipeline into the town’s water table.

“Implementation of the Cragin Aquifer Storage and Recovery Project is vitally important to the long-term sustainability of water resources,” wrote town hydrologist Mike Ploughe in a memo to the town council. “It will provide a means to maximize future operational flexibility concerning the storage and seasonal delivery of Cragin water during winter months.”

Moreover, at the same meeting the town will consider other changes in its water ordinances and infrastructure.

For starters, the town engineer wants $35,000 to install a 12-inch water main underneath a planned highway roundabout at Airport Road.

The Arizona Department of Transportation is expected to build the $1.5 million roundabout with federal money in the next several months.

The town wants to install a water main underneath the roundabout to provide enough water pressure to provide for growth near the Airport, including fire hydrants.

In addition, the council agenda includes a proposal to ease the town’s tough water conservation standards at least a little — but allowing buildings to use low-water-use urinals instead of entirely waterless urinals on new construction.

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