The May and June residential water sales and consumption increased over the same period last year, as reported at the Fern Valley Water District’s board of directors July meeting. In 2012, consumption increased more than 600,000 gallons compared to the same two months in 2011. Sales grew about $10,000 ($53,600 compared to $43,700). Unaccounted-for water was 13.2 percent in 2012 and 11.3 percent a year ago. Director Charlie Wix observed that the goal should be in single digits.

Production was also up over last month, as storage tanks continue to be refilled. General Manager Steve Erler pointed out that surface water availability is down substantially from same period in both 2011 and 2010 (310 gallons per minute this year compared to 970 gpm in 2011 and 1,000 gpm in 2010). Erler said there are no current plans to move into stage one water conservation. Prior to the August board meeting, a committee will review stage conservation water rates, which need to be updated prior to moving into any conservation stage.

Water levels in all wells decreased from one to 10 feet compared to the same time last year, Erler reported.

In other business, Idyllwild resident Adam Baker has been hired as field operator to replace a recently retired worker. Baker has background in general construction, plumbing and computer skills and is now taking water distribution and water treatment courses. Baker will take the California Department of Public Health, Water Distribution Grade 1 exam in September and the Water Treatment Grade 1 exam in November, Erler reported.