Because of the sensitivity of water supplies to drought, the Town of Payson contracted with a professional firm in 1995 to develop a water resources management program for the Town. The report explains how drought and precipitation affect our ability to produce drinking water for the community and what efforts are needed now and in the future to properly develop and manage the town’s water resources. The findings and recommendations of the 98 study “Long-Term Management Program of the Town of Payson’s Water Resources” prepared by Southwest Groundwater Consultants Inc. are still applicable today.
The Water Department manages its groundwater resources by the principal of “Safe Yield”. Management by Safe Yield, as a key step towards sustainability, requires that the Town of Payson maintain water consumption below the long-term average amount of groundwater that is naturally and artificially recharged to the aquifer. For example, the Safe Yield concept is much like keeping a check book in balance while also maintaining a savings for a “not so rainy day”. By maintaining average long-term water use below what is naturally “deposited” into our groundwater accounts we can ensure that there is plenty of groundwater available into the future. The Safe Yield planning value has also been made conservative through a 20% reduction, which creates a “savings” that, is then “insured” by artificial recharge at Green Valley Park. Because Payson’s water management strategy also utilizes conservation, supply diversification (to eventually include surface water), the Water Department is confident that water resources will remain available into the future. Additionally, by managing our water resources in such a conjunctive way, long-term sustainability of our water supplies can be maintained.
In order to implement the Water Department’s management strategy while meeting the everyday challenges of continually supplying high quality water to our growing community, the Payson Water Department has hired staff to supply water resource, water quality, and engineering services in house, rather than contracting with consultants. In addition to improving the efficiency of the ongoing work efforts, this approach has also enabled the town to save the considerable costs often associated with acquiring outside professional services.