Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
Tue, Nov. 19

Friday Catchall: Never-ending fight over water, ‘Pres-Kit’

The Friday Catchall:

• WATER – Years ago, 2006 to be exact, The Daily Courier published an anniversary book commemorating 125 years of service to the area.

It included chapters on the railroad, the Great Fire, statehood, movies and the Smoki, among others. One of those “others” was a chapter about water.

This came to mind when a reader, Dusty Rhodes, wrote in this week asking how much water we have and how much we’re using. “We are permitting the leadership of this fine city to make decisions about our water, we all so desperately need, that could impact all of us for years to come,” Dusty wrote. “Frankly this concerns me.”

First, it conjures up the idea of elected officials — they are elected to make these hard decisions. Some would claim our leadership knows little of the water needs, challenges and history.

I beg to differ. You’d be surprised how great a grasp our city leaders have on this topic. I, frankly, chalk this up to residents not trusting people in leadership positions (another column topic and trend for some time that I have touched on before).

Dusty suggests any decisions about water be placed on a ballot to be voted on by the residents.

That is admirable and grassroots democracy at its best; yet, if the council does not know the issue, how can we expect the voters to decide correctly?

Remember, water is not always about growth, and it ends up merely being a topic for fighting. Always has been.

As an aside, I received the following link – – to an Arizona Department of Water Resources report that may help explain our water overdraft and safe-yield situation (see page 14 where Prescott data begins).

• PRES-KIT – Another reader, “Nancy,” asked this past week a question about the pronunciation of the city’s name:

“I met a lady a few months (who) said she had lived in Prescott several years ago. She said at that time Prescott was pronounced just like it appears — ‘Pres-cott.’ She ask me when it was changed to ‘Pres-kit.’”

I did let out a tiny chuckle; ladies, nothing was changed. In fact, how we say our city’s name is a debate almost as old as that of water.

I have touched on it in prior columns; however, a great source is a Days Past article, which states:

“Not so easily settled is the ongoing question regarding the pronunciation of Prescott. Is it PresCOTT or PresKIT? Some say that it was a compromise reached at a public meeting on May 30, 1864, where the alternatives were discarded in return for pronouncing it PresKIT. Others lean toward the influence on the language brought by Southern migrants. Still others cite the unique Southwest dialect that gradually took root. Local historian Melissa Ruffner, who visited the William Hickling Prescott House in Boston in 1998, was told by the president of the organization that runs what is now a museum at the site that it was William Hickling’s grandfather who changed the pronunciation from PresCOTT to PresKIT as a way to symbolize his family’s separation from England.”

Not a new thing, but important to know. Thank you for writing, Nancy.

• QUOTE – “I think that we need history as much as we need bread or water or love.” — David McCullough, historian, author and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner.

• PICK OF THE WEEK – (Proving there’s always something good to do in the Prescott area that’s cheap or free): Naturalist Walk: The Colors of Fall, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Highlands Center for Natural History, 1375 S. Walker Road. The hikes take place on the unpaved trails on the center’s 80-acre campus.

Tim Wiederaenders is the senior news editor for the Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter @TWieds_editor. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 2032, or

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