New Lake May Drain Payson Water Rights
By Steve Otto
The letter below written to the Salt River Project Ombudsman by Stephen Otto raises important questions our current Town officials should be asking when considering negotiating deals with Town funds far into the future. Municipalities making deals that do not serve the public in the highest capacity or are written for the benefit of certain private entities or areas over the benefit of the entire public is called misappropriation of funds.
To SRP Ombudsman. Oct 4, 2022
Subject, C.C. Cragin water use in Payson, AZ
Respected Sir/ Madam:
I am a Salt River Project customer both in Gilbert, water and power, and Payson, water. I have researched the water agreement between Payson, Salt River Project, and the National Forest Foundation discussed in Payson Resolution # 2381 dated May 27, 2008.  In resolution #2381 the available water quantities both from C.C. Cragin and ground water along with the area of service is clearly spelled out. Paragraph 9.1 of Resolution #2381 indicates C.C. Cragin water is only for Payson customers. Paragraph 12.1 prohibits development of new wells on current or new Forest Service or Town of Payson properties.
Inter-Governmental Agreements signed between Payson and the Rim Country Educational Alliance/ Separate Legal Entity (RCEA/SLE) and the legal description of the RCEA/SLE land lead me to believe the RCEA/SLE property has never been a part of Payson. The RCEA/SLE property transferred directly from the US Forest Service to the RCEA/SLE. The RCEA/SLE has developed a park with a decorative water feature on the property and I have concerns that the development of the Granite Dells Park and Lake will violate the spirit and letter of the Resolution #2381 agreement.
Several public meetings have been held in Payson discussing the Granite Dells project (LAKE) with lots of claims about the availability of water from multiple sources but nothing is ever spelled out. The continuing drought and water delivery restrictions make me fearful that violating the terms of the Resolution #2381 may cause SRP to terminate water deliveries to Payson residents. Without sustainable water resources all property in Payson would be worthless.
I am requesting a SRP representative come to Payson to confirm, in a public forum, to residents that the proposed lake at Granite Dells Park conforms to the water restrictions spelled out in Resolution #2381 or any amended agreement. The discussion should include both C.C. Cragin and ground water used to fill a decorative lake. I would also like discussion as to why the decorative water feature doesn’t violate Arizona Revised Statutes when filled with either potable or raw water.