Work crews intermittently blocked Tyler Parkway this week with the latest work to prepare for the arrival of water from the Blue Ridge pipeline.
Crews dug a deep trench to carry two pipelines. One large pipe will bring water from the not-yet-built, $7.5 million treatment plant alongside Houston Mesa Road next to Mesa del Caballo. The second, smaller pipe will carry untreated water from the pipeline to the town’s two private country club golf courses — and perhaps the playing fields of a future university.
Contractors noted that connecting the pipeline carrying 3,500 acre-feet of water annually to the town’s existing system poses complex challenges.
Currently, Payson relies on a network of groundwater wells, which pump water into scattered
storage tanks on high ground. Because of all the hills and scattered well sites, the Payson system has 26 different pressure zones, each separated from the next with a system of valves and pressure control stations. By contrast, the water system that serves all of Phoenix has just three pressure zones.
The water from the pipeline will enter the town’s existing system under the pressure of its downhill run from near the Shoofly Ruins on Houston Mesa.
The plumbing hookup is complicated by the need to feed extra water back down into several groundwater wells.
Also, workers must connect the separate parts of the existing system into a single system so everyone in town can use Blue Ridge water during the nine months of the year water flows from the reservoir down to Washington Park at the base of
the Rim, through a 17-mile-long pipe alongside Houston Mesa Road and finally into the town’s system.
Water managers hope to restore a water table that has fallen more than 100 feet in the past few decades to historic levels once the Blue Ridge water arrives.