Bill Rojas (left), Idyllwild Water District (IWD), receives recognition for his Water Treatment Grade I certificate from IWD President Allan Morphett (center) and General Manager Terry Lyons. Photo by J.P. Crumrine
The Idyllwild Water District (IWD) finished fiscal year 2010-11 with a combined (water and sewer) net income of nearly $100,000. Auditor-Controller Jim Ludy reported the preliminary final figures to the board at its Tuesday, July 19 meeting.

While the operating budgets for both the water and sewer programs saw expenses exceed revenue, the non-operational revenue (primarily property taxes) was more than sufficient to result in net positive income, according to Ludy.

For the year, water expenses were only $19,000 more than IWD’s budget projection. No one cost area stood out as contributing to the higher expenses. But water revenue (primarily sales) fell more than $30,000 short of expectations.

The declining water revenue is apparent in the district’s water production. For the first six months of 2011, water production was 1.7 million gallons less than the same period in 2010. And for the final six months of 2010, production was 4.5 million gallons less than 2009, for a total decline of 6.2 million gallons during the current fiscal year.

IWD’s current water supplies are in good condition, reported General Manager Terry Lyons. The Foster Lake level was 17.5 feet and full is 18 feet.

“Last year, we needed to pump water from Strawberry Creek to keep the lake full,” Lyons said. “We only began pumping from the creek this month. Up until recently, Lilly Creek has maintained the lake’s level.”

During the meeting, the board honored employee Bill Rojas for receiving his Water Treatment Grade I certificate. He only joined the district in May and Lyons said that it generally takes 18 months or longer to earned this certificate. But Rojas has been taking water classes on his own.

Lyons told the board that he expects the final version of the Sewer System Management Plan to be available for board review at the August meeting.

He also expects the maintenance of three district wells, Nos. 12, 28 and Oakwood, to be completed in the next two months. Water samples have been taken and are at approvable levels.

No critical steps or hurdles for approval of the recycled water plan occurred in June, but Lyons did meet with officials from three private customers — Idyllwild Arts, Idyllwild Pines Camp and Royal Pines — who were all willing to use the recycled water for irrigation purposes. Lyons is continuing to collect data on how the district will market the product after it is produced.