Fern Valley Water District (FVWD) directors approved a progress payment of $217,000 for El-Co Contractors, the firm installing 3,000 feet of water pipeline. General Manager Steve Erler provided the board with a summary of the work and payment from Aug. 1 through Sept. 9.

“The contractor is performing the work on a time and material basis,” Erler said in his report to the board. The installation of the 3,000 feet of pipe has not required any change order, Erler said. The project replaces nearly 6,400 of existing pipeline.

Without objection, the board endorsed the payment to El-Co.

In addition, Erler reported the district had directly purchased $45,000 of pipe for this project.

During the discussion of the progress of the committees, Director Robert Krieger reported the ad hoc pipeline committee was studying whether FVWD could develop criteria to limit the number of potential bidders for each project.

Because of his experience, he recommended some criteria that would ensure only experienced contractors participate in the process. His concern is the possibility of contractors with no well or pipeline experience bidding simply because they are looking for construction work.

While reviewing the August checks, or warrants, FVWD President Ron Korman had Erler explain the process and regulations requiring water sample testing and the material necessary for the operation of the filtration. Newly elected Director Trischa Clark (who does not assume her seat until December) was present. (See page 8 for an interview with Clark.)

Before ending, the board recommended that Erler write the governor’s office to oppose recently approved legislation that would reduce the amount of funding that could be withheld from contractors’ payments until a project received final approval from 10 percent to 5 percent.

In water business, Erler reported that revenue from the July and August billing period had increased 7.8 percent from the 2010 summer billing, despite a 3 percent decrease in consumption.

Since January, total consumption through August was 29.9 million gallons, which was 2.9 million more than the same period in 201 0. This is the first increase in consumption over the previous year since 2007.

Of the total production this year, only 4.8 percent was pumped from the district’s wells. Even during the first week of September, FVWD obtained only 5.7 percent of its water from wells and the balance from Strawberry and Tahquitz creeks.

In the past year, the average amount of FVWD’s unaccounted for water has declined from 16.6 percent to 13.5 percent in August.