There's no question that we are in a drought and with that a certain amount of awareness has been brought up in everyone's minds abut the lack of water. Stories and editorials have been printed in many sources asking for efforts to conserve water.
I interviewed Gary Sonntag, Price City Engineer on Friday, along with three members of his public works staff who deal with irrigation. They outlined their responsibilities and the process of how irrigation water gets to the 178 people who have irrigation rights within the city of Price.
There are a number of things I understand better following the interview, one of which is the irrigation water that runs throughout the city's gutter system so delivery can be made to those that use it..
The gutters are actually used in the process of getting the water from ditch to ditch. I also see city crews every morning cleaning debris from the gutters and grates.
As more questions were asked and more information given I found that many people in the city have been using the water that is running down the gutters as an alternative means for getting rid of grass clippings and tree products.
The crew explained that it is a continual process cleaning up these lawn and garden remains as well as cleaning up the basic litter of cans and paper products. Day in and day out people continue to fill the streets and gutters with garbage.
As someone who has spent endless volunteer hours cleaning the ditches and areas near highways I just don't understand people who throw out their garbage, expecting others to pick up after them.
As I visited with Jim Valdez, who is the ditch master for the city irrigation program, he explained that it is his responsibility to maintain the water and to keep it so it doesn't interfere with other property owner's rights. He is on call 24-7 during irrigation season and is called out constantly to fix problems. These situations range from blocked ditches, to no water, to unauthorized persons using other people's water. The list is endless, but he continues to open and close ditches and work diligently so people who are paying for their irrigation water get it in a timely manner.
As ditch master he is there to monitor water flow and help maintain the program, not to enforce violations.
Because of the drought and the lack of water it seems the problems have increased. As I visited with Jim I was appauled by the treatment he gets from some people though he is just doing his job. He told me that people are constantly threatening him and causing him grief as he struggles to keep the water flowing.
It is hard for me to believe that something as simple as this would cause people to become violent and threaten others.
People should follow the golden rule when it comes to these problems. Shouldn't it be just plain consideration to let others do their jobs without trouble and to not make other peoples jobs harder than they need to be?