The board of directors for the Idyllwild Water District is reviewing a draft ordinance for mandatory use of recycled water. Anders Wistrom with Ascend Engineering, the district’s consultant on obtaining state approval for the recycled water facility, prepared the proposal.
The district is considering requiring the use of recycled water for agricultural and landscape irrigation, construction, landscape impoundments and wildlife habitat.
In March, the state approved the district’s grant for planning assistance for the recycled water facility. In that correspondence, the state urged the district to begin to draft an ordinance requiring use of the recycled water, which is why the draft was developed, General Manager Terry Lyons told the board.
“This complies with the state policy to use recycled water as much as possible,” Wistrom explained. “To use potable water for landscape or recreation is not a good use. The goal is a broad ordinance and [will] eventually [produce] agreements with specific customers.”
President Allan Morphett suggested that the district consider requiring recycled water use for future fire sprinkler system installation. “It’s a guideline by which we’d like to operate to save potable water for potable use.”
The board took no action, but Morphett asked his colleagues to review the draft and forward comments to the recycled water subcommittee, who will revise the proposal.
Another water use issue returned to the agenda Tuesday. Idyllwild Arts Academy officials attended the meeting as part of their request for three water will-serve letters guaranteeing water and sewer service to support the construction of two faculty houses and a new health center on its campus.
Speaking in response to a letter to the board from Idyllwild resident Sue Nash, who objected to issuance of the will service letters until there is an environmental assessment, Laura Sherman, Idyllwild Arts’ project manager, told the board that the county has approved its campus master plan and revisions four times since 1987. Each approval has complied with the California Environmental Quality Act.
Sherman stressed that the school is in the midst of completing another revision, which will address only 16 structures, and much of the supporting analyses, such as the archeological and greenhouse gas report, have been completed.
She also said that a public comment period would be announced within the next month.
Academy Dean of Students John Newman stressed to the board, that although the three buildings were new, they were replacing existing facilities and therefore would not be creating any additional water demand. The will-serve letter requests estimated that the new daily use on the district would be about 4 EDUs for water and for sewer.
However, the IWD board stressed its responsibility was to the entire community and asked more questions about the potential for additional demand from the installation of new fire sprinkler systems.
In fact, Morphett pointed out that the health center letter did not identify any sprinklers in the building, but the two housing units had a total of 31.
Newman and Sherman said the Idyllwild Fire District had agreed that the school could produce the required fire flow. But then they acknowledged that was an instantaneous flow, for a two-hour duration, and that the school would rely on IWD for sufficient water.
Lyons and several board members referred to his Aug. 8, 2011 letter to the academy after the last meeting where the will-serve letters were on the agenda. But Newman said it was never clear that the information was necessary before the letters were issued.
He argued that the additional data could be supplied in the future and were not necessary to approve the pending request. Further, the necessity for this data had never been clearly transmitted to the school. Nevertheless, the board did not withdraw its request for the data.
“You won’t have a master plan completed for two weeks. When you get that information we’ll revisit the project,” Morphett said. “We’re not delaying the project, but trying to get information to move forward with. We want to know exactly what we have to supply to you and to maintain our water service to other customers, whom we also have to protect.”
In other water business, Lyons reported, “The Strawberry Creek flow was steady. Lily Creek is flowing enough to keep the lake balanced.”
The district did not present financial statements for the meeting, but expects them next month. The position description for the new financial officer was tabled again. Morphett asked directors Jim Billman and Warren Monroe to review and simplify it. Meanwhile the board authorized Lyons to begin to advertise the vacancy.