Planning and financing a recycled water facility remains at the top of the Idyllwild Water District’s (IWD) agenda. IWD’s directors met with their consultants to discuss the next step and future options for obtaining approval and funding for the facility.

Anuj Saha and Anders Wistrom of Ascend Engineering in Aiken, S.C., discussed their conversations with state water officials and recommended several approaches to IWD. The board decided to send another letter with additional information to the state in November with the hope that a decision could be made before 2012.

Because Idyllwild is considered a disadvantaged community, Saha believes the state is holding IWD to a higher planning standard. However, if the project were approved this condition might benefit IWD because the entire project could be funded from grant money rather than requiring IWD to match a portion of the grant.

How to balance the double-edged sword was the issue that directors grappled with at their Sept. 20 meeting. Essentially, they agreed to try to meet the Water Resources Control Board’s demands because this might ensure more state funding for the project.

In other business, the board agreed to General Manager Terry Lyon’s plan for purchase of two generators.

Lyons also reported on the progress of the seismic data-monitoring project and negotiations with the U.S. Geological Survey to install two monitoring stations on IWD land. One would be located near the wastewater treatment facility and the other on the district’s Foster Lake property.

In other water business, IWD consumption last month was about 375,000 gallons less than August 2010. Total consumption for the first eight months of 2011 was nearly 2 million gallons less than the same 2010 period. According to IWD Auditor and Controller Jim Ludy, the reduced consumption in August was largely in residential usage. Commercial sales continue to exceed the current budget estimates.

Well levels are generally above levels from a year ago, Lyons reported. Also, stream levels are sufficient to divert more water to Foster Lake than a year ago. The lake is now two feet higher than in August 2010, Lyons added.