Watchdogs Are Needed



I believe the K-2 Well is a dead issue and should be left alone. However, a recent letter to the editor discussing this well needs correction. First, Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) records show the estimated cost of the K-2 Well, fully functional and hooked in the Pine Water Co. (PWC) system, as $1.3 million and not $1.5 million as stated in the letter. Second, Pine Strawberry Water Improvement District (PSWID) was only putting up $300,000, not $1.5 million. PWC had signed an agreement stating that it would put up $1 million to develop a fully functioning well. PSWID’s $300,000 would be paid back with interest. This $300,000, without any increase in property taxes, would then be available for additional PSWID projects.

There are three deep water wells in Pine, not two as stated in the letter. All of these wells have sand: the Milk Ranch Well (MRW), the Strawberry Hollow Well (SHW) and the well in Portals 4. As recorded in the June 19, 2010 PSWID minutes, Ernie Burgoyne, chairman of Pine Creek Canyon Water Improvement District (PCCWID), stated that the Portals 4 well cost $800,000. PCCWID will be using this well as a “back up” well capable of pumping 50 gallons per minute.

Despite the sand problems with MRW, PSWID has voted to purchase the well without an appraisal appraisal and without knowing the cost of removing the “fines” from its water. The price being discussed is $400,000, plus 50 residential meters and two commercial meters, which according to a proposed sales agreement, would not be subject to a moratorium and could be located anywhere in PSWID.

The moratorium stipulation enhances the value of these meters as PSWID meters would have to honor PSWID-imposed moratoriums. In addition to the proposed purchase agreement, PSWID has spent $120,000 to improve MRW. Finally, Tetra Tech has estimated that it will cost $429,000 to join MRW into the PSWID system. Therefore, MRW cost is easily approaching $1 million, quite a bit more than the $300,000 of PSWID money involved in the K-2 Well. I feel that at the estimated $1 million for MRW, PSWID drilling its own well becomes something worth considering.

Clearly, with the purchase of the PIne Water Co. and Strawberry Water Co. plus the anticipated purchase of two deep water wells, PSWID has embarked upon the more costly road to an adequate water supply. In the long run, the more costly way might be the better way. However, in pursuing its goals, PSWID is best served by making every effort to try to make as much accurate information as possible available to the general public. Perhaps that is why we need “watch dogs.”

Bernice E. Winandy


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