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Sat, Oct. 19

Editorial<br><br>We still must conserve our water, even with moisture

A raw water storage report drafted by city of Williams Water Superintendent Ron Stilwell reflects a drastic change in the percent of capacity in area lakes and reservoirs. As of Nov. 10, City Dam was at 72 percent capacity. Santa Fe was at 40 percent capacity and Cataract Lake was at 63 percent capacity. Kaibab Lake reflected a measly 2 percent. Dogtown Lake was at only 27 percent capacity. The total capacity of all waters combined was 27 percent.

Less than one month later on Dec. 7, the water capacity level percentages had improved significantly. City Dam was at 53 percent capacity, down from 72 percent since we are now using City Dam for our potable water supply. Santa Fe’s capacity increased to 63 percent. Cataract Lake is almost full at 96 percent. Kaibab Lake is rebounding at 15 percent and Dogtown’s capacity swelled to 40 percent. The total capacity of all waters combined is now 43 percent.

This is great news! Both wells will be off for approximately three weeks since water is being pulled from City Dam. The city will save a few dollars by not operating the wells.

This much moisture hasn’t been seen since 1998. That’s a long time. Due to drought conditions, our area forests were attacked by bark beetles. The damage those beetles left behind was devastating. Fire danger increased. We held our breath each summer praying that fire would not destroy our forests, properties and homes.

However, we are not out of the woods yet. It will take time to overcome drought conditions. Remember, the drought didn’t happen overnight. Williams City Manager Dennis Wells, along with the Williams City Council, are encouraging residents to continue to conserve water. Water restrictions will not be lifted in the near future.

In the meantime, let’s enjoy the moisture we have received. With four feet of snow on Bill Williams Mountain, the Williams Ski Area is set to open at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. The ski area will be open every day — with the exception of Christmas Day — through Jan. 2. When warmer temperatures return and the snowmelt travels down the mountain, Williams’ lakes will receive even more water. Perhaps this year we will be able to fish our local waters once again.

Moisture will certainly increase tourism since recreational opportunities will increase. More people will travel to our mountain town to recreate — whether they ski, fish, hike or camp. These people spend money locally. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. As we give thanks for moisture and welcome 2005, let’s reflect on how we utilize our most precious resource — water.

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