End Of Water Wars Finally Draws Near


Maybe they ought to stage a signing ceremony on a bass boat floating serenely in a Green Valley Lake. If that seems too, well Payson, maybe they could set up a picnic table alongside the Tower Well for the ceremony.

One way or another, it seems like we ought to throw some sort of festival to celebrate the hopefully imminent signing of an agreement between Payson and Star Valley to finally wash away five years of anger and misunderstanding.

The agreement already approved by the Payson Town Council would sell two deep wells to Star Valley for $100,000. The purchase price represents the amount Payson spent to develop the wells and is a bargain price for 320 acre-feet of water annually, not even taking into account the other benefits of the deal.

For instance, the agreement will limit annual pumping from the Tower Well to about 800 acre-feet.

Now, hopefully Payson won’t ever have to actually pump that water — especially after the Blue Ridge water comes gurgling down the not-yet-built pipeline. But it makes sense to keep it on hand for emergencies like a pipeline break. But even if Payson pumps the full 800 acre-feet, it won’t have a serious impact on Star Valley’s water table especially since the Tower Well draws from a level much deeper than most of its neighbors’ wells.

The agreement will provide some other serious advantages for Star Valley including a chance to qualify as a “water purveyor,” which means it can strike a deal for a share of the 500 acre-feet of Blue Ridge water still reserved for Northern Gila County communities.

For instance, Star Valley could ultimately sell that Blue Ridge water to the two country club golf courses, which could water heavily enough to both keep the grass lush and recharge the shallow water table on which Star Valley depends.

Both sides deserve credit for working through the bad blood, mangled history and entrenched positions to reach this happy point.

Now, we haven’t had many good excuses to throw a Rim Country block party these past few years. So it would be a shame to pass one up.

Call it Armistice Day — to celebrate the end of WWI (Water Wars I). With any luck at all, there will never be a WWII.

Farsighted investment once again saves lives

Sometimes, businesses do the right thing for all the right reasons. Many times, they don’t get much credit for doing it. But sometimes they do. Like now. Way to go, Mazatzal Hotel and Casino.

Not only did they do the right thing — they most likely saved a life.

Monday afternoon, a hotel worker collapsed on the grounds — struck down by a heart attack.

Fortunately, several years ago the casino took a chance and did the right thing investing about $1,800 in a portable automated external defibrillator and in the necessary training so the hotel’s security staff could get someone’s heart pumping again while awaiting the arrival of the paramedics.

In fact, others around town have made the same investment and the same commitment to this community.

This includes the Payson Athletic Club, Gila Community College, the Tonto Apache Tribe and Recreation Center, Taylor Pool, the Tonto Apache Tribe Administration Building, Payson High School, SemStream, Payson Public Library, Payson Sleep Services, William Blackmore, DDS, Payson Senior Center, Payson Police patrol cars and the Gila County Sheriff’s Office, among other places.

Mazatzal Casino’s commitment probably saved a life on Monday. Acting with cool-headed professionalism, Security Supervisor Nikki Small, Safety Coordinator Luci Shaw and two other officers hooked up the machine, which restarted the woman’s heart after about 20 compressions.

That represents the fourth time the casino has saved a guest or employee as a result of its investment in the machine. We hope other major employers in this town will take a lesson from the casino’s life-saving success.

And in the meantime, we applaud the efforts of the Payson Fire Department and the Mogollon Health Alliance to provide the equipment and the training, for one of the most successful, community-minded of programs.

Sometimes, people do the right thing.

And sometimes, they get credit. Like now.


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