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Sep 16, 2012 1:21 AM by Samantha Ptashkin

Monsoon 2012 washes away water worries on Mt. Lemmon

MOUNT LEMMON, Ariz.- People who live up on Mt. Lemmon are breathing a sigh of relief.

The Summerhaven creeks are flowing once again, after a dry winter threatened the small town's water supply. "We were really concerned our summer rains would not come in," says Mt. Lemmon Water District Manager Michael Stanley.

Last winter Summerhaven only received 35-40 inches of snow, compared to 218 inches the year before.

In the months to follow, the creeks began slowing down. Stanley worried residents would have to start conserving water. "We ask the people to restrict 50% of their water voluntarily and then if that doesn't work, we start doing 50% mandatory," Stanley says.

But Monsoon 2012 made a splash, touching down in the first week of July and dumping about 17 inches of rain for the season. "We were very fortunate to have the rains come in right on time," Stanley says.

Summerhaven business owners especially welcomed the water. "It just makes it more of an attractive destination," says Cookie Cabin Owner Vic Zimmerman. "We don't have that dry, gray feeling on the pine trees like we did when we had the fire."

Zimmerman says this is one of the greenest summers he has seen in years. "It just has a nice, warm feeling to it," Zimmerman says.

Now he and other Summerhaven residents are just hoping to avoid another dry winter. "We're hoping for el nino," Stanley says.

Stanley says the last time el nino hit was in 1997, dumping more than 300 inches of snow.

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