Letter to the Editor: This is what ugly Tucson is like; it should make you fight for your water, St. George

Image courtesy of Pixabay, St. George News

OPINION — In 2016, my small family and I moved from St. George to Tucson, Arizona. The first time we visited Tucson before accepting the job, I remember being heavy-hearted to be leaving my beloved Dixie. I knew that no place would ever be as beautiful or have as perfect a climate as St. George.

So, I wasn’t at all surprised that I thought Tucson was ugly (and yes, I just said ugly).

The job offer was good so we dismissed our concerns about the barren desert that Tucson appeared to be. Besides, over a million people reside in Tucson, so there must be redeeming qualities about it, right?

Landscape photo from a Tuscon neighborhood, Tuscon, Arizona, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Courtney Wallace, St. George News

We packed up and moved. Our home there was xeriscaped, front and backyard … like 95 percent of all homes in the Tucson area. You see, in the ’70s Tucson hit its prime and started to run out of water. Lazy politicians cut off water privileges and cracked down on water conservation, upping the cost of water to a ridiculous amount. Homes that once had lush green grass were (and in a lot of cases still are) covered in weeds and dirt. People who couldn’t afford to instantly pay to re-landscape their homes just turned off the water in their yards. This drove down property values, which led to a once thriving downtown turning into a wasteland.

There are rebuilding efforts happening in suburbs outside of Tucson, but that comes from investors more than the city. This is a city that is dealing with billions of dollars from decades of neglected-road damage and trash to be cleaned up and medians to re-landscaped – none of which the city can afford to do currently.

So, why am I writing this letter? I am writing this letter as a voice of warning to all St. Georgians who are comfortably letting their water run while doing the dishes and are too busy going to soccer games to get informed on the water issues that surround St. George. Give up 15 minutes of your social media time to get informed. That grass in your backyard is going to disappear the second your water bill triples. When costs go up that much, like it did for many Tucsonians, not everyone can afford to redo their landscaping, so many people just turned their water off.

This really changes the way homes look. Do you know if all of your neighbors can afford to redo their yards? Our average water bill in St. George was $100 (xeriscaped front yard, grass in the backyard). Our bill in Tucson (xeriscaped front yard and backyard) was $350.

Our quality of life is lower in Tucson because finding grassy places to play are rare, something I so took for granted while living in St. George. There is almost nothing to do when my kids’ friends come over because we have no yard to play in. Turns out, you can’t play soccer in gravel. We don’t have big parks with rolling grassy hills around every corner. There are no splash pads at public parks. It is concrete on concrete, which makes an already hot place feel even hotter.

St. George is a practically perfect place to live. If you value your quality of life, your home values and the politicians working to find solutions, now is the time to speak up and get involved!

St. George and its beautiful homes will not look the same without water … the most precious resource in a desert community. Do not let St. George become a Tucson. The water is worth the fight! Fight for any water you can get, St. G!

Submitted by COURTNEY WALLACE, Tucson, Arizona.

Letters to the Editor are not the product or opinion of St. George News and are given only light edit for technical style and formatting. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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18 Comments

  • indy-vfr February 10, 2018 at 10:47 am

    Tucson is often referred to as the “San Francisco of the South-West” I took for granted that the Leftists had all these problems figured out???
    But, seriously the city sits on high desert. What do you expect?

  • DRT February 10, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    I’m betting that this letter writer always found something to complain about when he lived in St. George. Get a grip dude, Tucson is in the desert. Phoenix is in the desert. St. George is in the desert.

  • comments February 10, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    Agree w/ the others. There’s not enough water to green the desert of tucson. It is what it is– one of the driest places in the US. This seems like a crypto-support letter for the pipeline. I don’t trust it.

  • chris keele February 10, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    Thank you Courtney for the reminder on how we should be thinking and practicing water conservation, and remaining cognizant of the fact that we are a very water wasteful community, and water wasteful state for that matter, please remind those family members and people you know to conserve and be more considerate.

  • Southpaw February 10, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Interesting. My wife and I just completed a trip to Tucson to visit relatives this past week. It is definitely “ugly”.

    • Proud Rebel February 10, 2018 at 3:58 pm

      Perhaps you would care to enlighten us on what you think is ugly about Tucson. It is a city. In the desert. It is what it is.

  • Walter1 February 10, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    The problem really isn’t not enough water. The real problem is that greedy developers building too much and the City leaders allowing it. The same thing that has happened to Tucson, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Palm Springs and the Borrego California areas will certainly happen in Dixie’s near future if the government leaders continue to promote growth at any cost. The proposed pipeline or “The Pipe Dream” could possibly help water shortages in the future but the costs will be astronomical for all of those who will see their water bills skyrocket into absurdity. Growth does not equal quality of life or affordability. Wake-up time folks!

    • Real Life February 10, 2018 at 3:53 pm

      I agree Walter. Greedy developers here are not going to stop though. Water conservation HAS to become reality. There are way too many here that just take the “God will provide” route.

    • Scorch February 10, 2018 at 6:31 pm

      Do you live in a house Walt? Somebody had to develop that property for you to move in. Developing is a job just like any other, except the risk is much higher than people understand. One blip on the economy and your bankrupt. Risk = Reward. Developers are no more greedy than lawyers are all shysters and banners are all crooks.

    • vintagehippie February 11, 2018 at 10:24 am

      Walter, I can see that you are one of the rare folks around here that realize that the pipeline may not have anything other than dust to deliver to the St. George area when it is constructed. That will leave St. George to be an over developed dust bowl…

    • stg-anon February 12, 2018 at 10:37 am

      If new development stopped, housing prices and rent would skyrocket.

      St George’s days as a small town are over, we’re projected to have over a half million people living here within the next 50 years. That momentum isn’t going to change, so either adapt or move on.

  • jh9000 February 11, 2018 at 4:57 am

    As usual, all the comments insult, dismiss or blame others (as typical, libs and developers) instead of seeing the value in the author’s well-intended message. This town is full of small-minded, short-sighted folks who would rather piss into the wind than try to take meaningful steps to preserve the life they love in St George. Here’s a bit of truth: When push comes to shove over water resources, St George is going to lose.

  • Happy Day February 11, 2018 at 7:28 am

    Thank you for the comparison and reminder of what we have.

  • beacon February 11, 2018 at 8:46 am

    Many in Tucson (perhaps most) have let their desert vegetation get out of hand. That’s not the way it has to be. All landscaping must be maintained whether it’s desert landscaping or landscaping that requires vast amounts of water – lawn, for example. To use Tucson as an example for why we should build a multi-billion dollar pipeline to try and get water 139 miles away that may or may not carry water given the climate change predictions being made for the Colorado River basin makes no sense. Utah gets 23% of whatever water is available in the Upper Basin of the Colorado River Basin. This year the CR is running at about 47% of normal. Some numbers have been run that show Utah has already used is allocation and really doesn’t have any more given the diminished flows. If the pipeline is built and encourages this area to grow even faster than it already is and the water isn’t there, what good will leaders have done for this area? Also, there will come a point when growth overcomes the new LPP water and residents would be faced with the same difficult decisions regarding how to use water that we should be dealing with now with our local resources. Fear of being “ugly” is not what decisions should be based on.

  • ladybugavenger February 11, 2018 at 9:15 am

    I don’t care what you say, St George is beautiful!

  • Caveat_Emptor February 11, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Thanks Courtney for providing your perspective, in comparing Tucson, to SW Utah. As expected it stimulated some useful discussion.
    My guess is the future of SW Utah has minimal man-installed greenery, and a greater reliance on xeriscaping, as the cost of water starts to reflect the LPP. This is on the edge of the Mojave Desert after all.

  • Dianne February 11, 2018 at 11:16 am

    We live in Hurricane, and our highest water bill in the summer months never exceeds $44.00. So if your water bill is around $100.00, don’t know where you live. And I don’t believe Tucson is ugly.

  • PogoStik February 11, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    ‪Source: water.utah.gov ‬

    ‪WHAT PERCENTAGE OF UTAH’S WATER IS DIVERTED FOR: ‬
    ‪82%  ……. Agriculture water use‬
    ‪18%.  ……. Municipal and Industrial‬

    ‪WATER VOLUME OF SOME UTAH LAKES AND RESERVOIRS: ‬
    ‪Normal Capacity  (Acre-Feet) ‬
    ‪Bear Lake ………………… 1,420,000 ‬
    ‪Utah Lake …………………  850,000 ‬
    ‪Great Salt Lake ……….. 15,370,140‬
    ‪Strawberry “……………… 1,107,000‬
    ‪Flaming Gorge ………….. 3,789,000‬
    ‪Lake Powell ……………. 28,000,000‬
    ‪Jordanelle ……………………320,000‬

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