PCWD to expand fire protection coverage

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Water production in the Pine Cove Water District declined in September and climbed again in October. For the 10 months of 2014, total production of 28.4 million gallons is nearly 780,000 gallons (2.8 percent) more than the same period in 2013. And despite the drought conditions, this is the most for this 10-month period since 2009, when Pine Cove customers needed 30.8 million gallons.

“The wells are holding up good,” General Manager Jerry Holldber told the board last week and added, “Static well no. 10 has maintained its groundwater level for several months.”

However, the district’s water loss reached 14 percent in the August and September period. “I don’t know why. That’s really high,” he told the directors.

Looking to the future, Holldber is preparing a concept paper for extending water lines to the western edge of the district. If the state is receptive to the idea, he will submit a grant application for funds from $10 million of the Fire Prevention Fee funds set aside for grants to local agencies.

“The Bee Fire burned up to this area and it’s a high fire hazard,” he said. “It would be another tool to help.” For example, it would be beneficial when fire agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service, need to burn piles of slash and debris.

The plan would include about 5,000 feet of 6-inch pipe and 12 hydrants to serve the area. The estimated cost is $292,000. If the concept is approved, Holldber will apply for a grant to pay about two-thirds of the cost.

“Pine Cove structures have an assessed value greater than $134 million,” he stressed. “This is a small price to pay to add to protection to Pine Cove and the entire community.”

The board unanimously supported the idea. “We commend this thinking. Not all water districts care about water for firefighters,” said Board President Michael Esnard.

Holldber also announced he would be submitting a separate grant request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for funds to refurbish several wells in the district.

“This is a new grant program in support of the emergency drought,” he said. “I’ll have more information at future meetings.”

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