Will water supply lead to death of Tombstone?

“The judge said, ‘Why don’t you just let Tombstone go in and fix their springs?’ and the Forest Service said, ‘Because we don’t have to.’ “

Jay Crandall

TOMBSTONE, Ariz. — It is known as the town too tough to die, but will the federal government now do what a silver bust and desert dust could not and kill off the city of Tombstone?…

…On one side, the faceless federal bureaucracy known as Washington. On the other, the town too tough to die. According to Sandefur, the town of Tombstone’s very life is at stake.

Sandefur said the feds are cutting off Tombstone’s lifeblood — its water supply.

“There is some water, it is definitely not enough,” she said.

That’s because Tombstone’s water actually starts in the Huachuca Mountains, some 30 miles from the town itself, piped in from natural springs until the massive Monument Fire and the floods that followed last year.

“Debris flows came through here and washed out and buried our springs, destroyed our collection structures and a large section of our main aqueduct,” said Kevin Rudd, Tombstone Public Works project manager.

That literally stopped any water flowing into Tombstone. Since then, Rudd has been working to uncover the springs, replace pipe and stop the leaks that are stealing precious gallons.

But not only is he facing the destruction left by nature, he is facing a challenge from the Forest Service.

“They said if you want to come up and repair some of your springs, you have to do it with horses and hand tools,” Sandefur said.

Because this is a designated wilderness area, no motorized or mechanical equipment is allowed in. Even a wheelbarrow was declared off limits…

The article continues, with video, at AZFamily.com

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