Idyllwild Water District President Allan Morphett and General Manager Terry Lyons present a state Water Distribution Certificate to Bill Rojas. This is Rojas’ second certificate in less than a year of employment at IWD. Photo by J.P. Crumrine

Earlier this month, officials from the Idyllwild Water District (IWD) met with state water officials in their Sacramento offices. They were pursuing their effort to secure funding for a tertiary recycled water treatment plant, according to Board President Allan Morphett. The treated water would be delivered to customers for irrigation purposes.

While the Water Resources Control staff was encouraging, IWD still has several major documents, including an enhanced environmental analysis because federal funds may be part of the award, and plans to prepare and submit before firm feedback will be available.

“They have asked us for a plethora of information, including future usages,” Morphett told his colleagues. The initial deadline is June 30 and the application review could take six to 18 months, he added. “There’s a lot of work ahead of us,” he said.

If successful, IWD hopes to receive half to three-quarters of the cost of the project. In addition, because Idyllwild is classified as a disadvantaged community, the state may forgive some or all of the construction loan amount.

Besides Morphett, IWD sent General manager Terry Lyons and Auditor Controller Jim Ludy and project consultants, Anuj Saha and Anders Wistrom, of Ascend Engineering.

In other business, the board held a public hearing to approve the categorical exemption for the water treatment unit for IWD’s Oakwood well. The project will neutralize the well’s natural acidic water, and thereby meet the pH level for domestic public water. Blending the water will have no affect on the environment, according to Lyons.

IWD employee Bill Rojas, with less than a year at the district, has earned his second state certificate. At the recent board meeting, Morphett and Lyons presented Rojas with his Water Distribution Operator Grade D1 Certificate. In July, he received his Water Treatment Operator Grade T1 Certificate.

“He is currently pursuing Grade 2 and excelled in his classes,” Lyons said proudly. “We’re fortunate to have able employees.”

Before adjourning, the board agreed to a special meeting 7 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 10 to discuss its 2012 goals and committee assignments.

In water business, Lyons reported that Foster Lake’s level was 17.5 feet, 18 feet is full, and the Foster Lake wells were 5.7 feet.

IWD produced 5.8 million gallons of water in November, about 70,000 gallons (1.2 percent) less than a year ago. Since January, production is nearly 2.5 million gallons less than the corresponding 2010 period. This is a 3.1 percent decrease. Production in 2010 production was 11 percent below 2009. The cumulative two-year production decrease was 12.8 million gallons.

While Pine Cove Water District has experienced a similar decline in use over the past two years, Fern Valley Water District’s 2011 usage has has grown 2.4 million gallons or 7.5 percent compared to 2010 usage.