Never mind the kindest, most generous, most interesting people you’ll find anywhere.
Never mind the perfect climate, the stunning scenery, the miles of streamfront and hiking trails.
Never mind the sense of community, the absorbing history, the recreational bounty and the natural beauty.
Payson has one more thing going for it that guarantees a bright future: Water.
The fascinating revelation of Arizona’s looming water shortage by Payson Mayor Kenny Evans and Mesa Mayor Scott Smith underscored that point emphatically. Projections suggest Arizona in coming decades may fall nearly a million acre-feet short of the water it needs annually to accommodate projected growth.
But not in Payson: Decades of effort has more than doubled the town’s long-term water supply through the Blue Ridge pipeline project. We have more than enough water to provide for a build-out population of 40,000.
So don’t worry too much about the college, about the sales slump, about the lingering drought in new construction. This community cannot fail to prosper thanks to the precious gift of water.
Alas, other communities aren’t so lucky — especially if they’re hoping our myopic state Legislature will intervene. We know that our own state House representative, Brenda Barton, mud-wrestled with the issue in the last legislative session. But she had to retreat from even half-measures in the face of opposition from warring water factions.
Evans and Smith both agreed Arizona faces a crucial turning point, as the climate shifts and the flow of the Colorado River dwindles. Neither held out much hope the distracted Legislature will do anything in time to make a difference. That’s why we’re so glad Rim Country leaders worked so hard and so long to secure our future. And in the meantime, we’ve also got the best people, the most amiable climate and the most stunning scenery anywhere.