Pine Cove Water District General Manager Jerry Holldber explains the workings of the district’s distribution system to Jim Oleson of Stonewood during the workshop last week. Stonewood Homeowners Association is seeking a relationship with PCWD. Holldber presented an annexation proposal to the PCWD and HOA. Photo by J.P. Crumrine

This spring, the Stonewood Homeowners Association approached Jerry Holldber, Pine Cove Water District general manager, about establishing a physical connection with the district.


The HOA wanted to explore possibilities from just an emergency tie-in between its system and PCWD to the possible annexation of the community and becoming part of the PCWD.

Last week, Holldber presented the costs of several alternatives at a PCWD workshop attended by members of the Stonewood HOA, including President Angela Colson. The Stonewood group met Saturday to discuss their future.

“We need to investigate more financial and figures for the long range,” Colson said Monday. “It’s very, very expensive and we need to keep studying in depth what to do.”

Holldber described an incorporation option that would provide more and cleaner water to the whole community for approximately $300,000 in system improvements, or about $12,400 per property with a meter and $5,200 for properties without meters.

Questions and comments have gone back and forth for several months culminating in a workshop last week. Holldber and PCWD directors met to discuss and explore the cost and practicality of the various options for association between the neighborhood and the water district.

Currently, there are 36 properties within the Stonewood neighborhood, of which 26 already have water service. The Stonewood system is supplied from a private well producing about 13 to 15 gallons per minute and one 67,000-gallon storage tank. According to the HOA’s water consultant Richard Zaragoza, the HOA annual water usage is about 3.4 million gallons, but lacks any fire flow.

The PCWD system would be extended about 1,000 feet north of its current terminus. Within Stonewood, fire hydrants would be installed as would water meters for the homes with current water service.

Joining PCWD would eliminate issues of water quality and dependability that have occurred over the past five years. State and county warnings have been issued for water quality as well as for the pipes used in Stonewood’s distribution system.

In May, Holldber received a private email from a resident pleading for help since they had been without water for days.

In addition, if annexation were pursued, Riverside County’s Local Agency Formation Commission would be involved to organize and oversee the process, which would cost about $28,000.

With a loan for capital costs and water service identical to current PCWD customers, a Stonewood homeowner would pay about $900 annually plus costs for water usage.

Stonewood residents would have access to greater water storage, improved water quality, and full-time staff to operate and maintain water production and delivery.

We know we want the tie-in,” Colson said. “And we want a pristine water supply potential for the community.”


  1. Stonewood has only 27 homes total, with less than 10 full time residents, some of which are children. Between May 15 and June 3rd, some residents were without water for more than two weeks, and those who did have water were on boil notices. This has been an ongoing problem for the last 5 years as the outdated water system continues to degrade. Stonewood is an HOA which also owns its own water company. Residents are already paying $150 a month for three services: water, roads, and snow plowing. Given that the association is so small, it has been impossible for them to maintain the services adequately. The roads are often patched by volunteer residents and inadequately plowed roads during the winter leaves many unable to access their homes for extended periods of time, and now the water crisis.

    There are grants available, but the area doesn't qualify because most of the residents/owners are weekenders whose Stonewood homes are second homes, which also means that their incomes bump Stonewood out of the income limits for rural area grants, leaving the full-time residents who fall within the rural grant limits stuck. And, like the article says, we have no water for fire protection because the pressure is too low. A $12000 special assessment would be devastating to the fulltime residents of Stonewood who are mostly retired or have incomes that are roughly equal to the estimated special assessment. The majority of the owners, however, own Stonewood homes as second vacation homes have much higher incomes, are likely to vote for this special assessment since they can afford to pay the assessment. One must however, question the legality of such a large assessment.

    If the water system is not repaired, Stonewood will become uninhabitable when the water system fails, which is imminent.