Rim Country’S Future Secure

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You may have missed the big news. The news that guarantees our future. The news that proves you can’t sell us short.

Here it is: Payson’s water table continues to rise — despite the drought, even before the arrival of water from the Blue Ridge pipeline.

Lots of other towns in rural Arizona are confronting the grim reality of a dwindling water supply in the face of a warming climate and a growing demand. The Colorado River’s over-promised and projected to decline. Prescott is fighting for groundwater that could dry up the Verde River. Sierra Vista has run out of water. Phoenix will face mounting challenges in finding more water to slake its enormous thirst.

But in Payson the average resident uses just 79 gallons a day — about half the per-capita average in the Valley.

The town’s just-released water report indicates Payson is using about 61 percent of the water that flows into underground storage in an average year. Of course, that number’s based on factoring in the capacity of the Tower Well in Star Valley, which the town should only pump in an emergency. Taking the Tower Well out of the equation, Payson’s using close to safe yield in the rest of its well system.

That’s good news all by itself.

But the news gets much better when you factor in the arrival of another 3,000 acre-feet starting in 2014 or 2015 when the town completes the Blue Ridge pipeline, running along Houston Mesa Road.

That water will provide Payson with enough water to supply a population of perhaps 40,000.

That’s why this community will thrive and grow in the decades to come, quite aside from the perfect climate, the stunning beauty — and the best people anywhere.

So, you can now go back to fretting about the school re-organization and the fund-raising efforts of all the good causes — and maybe even the strange stuff going on in Congress and the statehouse.

But don’t worry about Payson.

We’ve got water.

We’ve got a future.

Too much to do

Whew: Finally. The week has started. Gotta rest up from the weekend. Now, every so often, you’ll hear someone comment that Payson’s a sleepy little town — not much to do.

Goodness. They must be talking about Payson, Utah, because they sure can’t be talking about Rim Country.

Consider the weekend we just came through.

Over at the Tonto Apache Reservation, a beautiful young girl shone through the first Sunrise Ceremony ever held on the reservation — established after years of courageous, persistence in 1972. The addition of nearly 300 acres to the reservation in 2010 finally gave these resilient, tenacious and joyful people enough space to stage the coming of age ceremony that extends back thousands of years.

Meanwhile, thousands of folks celebrated traditions of a different kind by flocking to Green Valley Park where they gawked at the gleaming classic cars, lined up on the startling green grass beneath a perfect spring sky.

Oh yeah, the Time Out Shelter held a well attended fund-raiser, buoyed up by the great-hearted folks determined to help Rim Country’s only domestic violence shelter cope with state and federal cuts.

Meanwhile, supporters of Payson Community Kids held their own fund-raiser — determined to make sure that every kid in this town has somewhere safe and nurturing to go after school.

Let’s see, what else?

Oh, yeah, the Worm Guy held forth at the Payson Community Garden, where people are growing produce for the food banks.

Dedicated human rights activists showed up for Amnesty International’s film festival.

Volunteers showed up to build trails in Pine.

Excited teens in tuxedos and chiffon rocked out at the high school prom.

The Artists of the Rim held a grand opening event to showcase the talents of 18 remarkable local artists.

We could actually go on — but you get the drift.

So when we say we live in the most wide-open, great-hearted community in the world — we’re not just speaking off the cuff.

We’ve got evidence.

Just wish we had room for all the photo packages.

Hey, maybe Friday.

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