Think We’Ll Miss The Water Wars?


We’re torn. Should we lament the loss of juicy news stories — or rejoice in the benefit to our beloved community?

Specifically: What should we make of the sudden outbreak of reason and civility between Payson and Star Valley that has brought an end the water wars that spawned so many bizarre news stories for so many years?

The Star Valley Town Council on Tuesday agreed to renew negotiations with both Payson and Brooke Utilities to secure the town’s long-term water supply.

The breakthrough came when Brooke Utilities President Robert Hardcastle indicated to Star Valley officials he might be willing to sell the 300-meter Payson Water Company to Star Valley at a reasonable price.

That revelation may answer vexing questions that have stalled Star Valley action on Payson’s offer to sell its neighbor three wells and limit future use of the controversial Tower Well.

The Star Valley council will meet in executive session next week to discuss these interlocking issues.

Certainly, questions remain. The purchase of the water company will enable Star Valley to secure its fair share of the Blue Ridge water, help provide an adequate water supply for commercial development and protect the water table.

The water company purchase would also give Star Valley a likely market for water from the three Payson wells. Councilor Gary Coon also has a good point: Star Valley can’t actually hook those wells into any system until it obtains an easement from Chris Benjamin — either through buying it or through the courts. The town clearly needs expert, dispassionate legal advice on that crucial question.

But the Payson deal probably makes sense even if the easement question remains for the moment unresolved, since it would fulfill one of the fundamental promises of incorporation. Either way, the Star Valley council’s thoughtful, responsible approach signals the final end of the water wars. And that’s such good news for Rim Country that we don’t even mind having to find something else to write about.


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