Continuing what it believes has worked well, the Pine Cove Water District board of directors re-elected the officers that have headed the board for the past several years — President Tom McCullough, Vice President Mike Esnard and Secretary Lou Padula.

McCullough is beginning his eighth year as president. He was first elected in December 2005. Esnard and Padula were elected two years later, in December 2007.

At the board’s Wednesday, Dec. 12 meeting, General Manager Jerry Holldber informed the board that the district’s immediate neighbor, CAL FIRE Station 23, has expressed an interest in purchasing the district’s office building. Holldber said CAL FIRE is considering expanding its existing footprint, and PCWD’s office is contiguous to the fire department.

Board members observed that it would be a question of whether an offer from CAL FIRE would be sufficient to allow the district to adequately replace the current facility. Holldber stressed these discussions are only preliminary. “They’re interested in at least talking about it,” Holldber said. “We would be working with CAL FIRE as a partner and as a public service.”

As part of his report to the board, Holldber summarized water production over the last 14 years (1999 through 2012) and cross-referenced production with declines in full-time residences.

From 1999 to 2012, production declined from a high of 40.5 million gallons in 1999 to a projected 2012 level of 31 million gallons. Full-time residences also declined during this period. In 2005, the district’s full-time residential population peaked at 533 and has fallen to 407 as of December 2012, according to Holldber’s report.

Holldber complimented district customers on their water conservation efforts and said the district had no plans to go to Stage 1. “All our wells are holding up,” Holldber said. “We’ve using fewer gallons and not overtaxing anything. Static measuring well is down three feet, but still at 83 feet.”

Holldber also mentioned in his report that water loss percentages continue to be higher than he would prefer, and twice as high as in some years during the last decade (10 percent through end of November, 2012 compared to smaller losses in 2008 — 4.3 percent and 4.6 percent in 2001; 4.8 percent in 2000 and 5 percent in 2003 and 2007).

Holldber and staff have conducted due diligence investigations, but short of hiring a leak-detection company, he could not explain the higher loss figure. Board President McCullough said that comparing the cost of producing the unaccounted for water with the cost of hiring a leak detection company, “It does not make a lot of sense to spend money to remedy the situation.” McCullough calculated that an 8 percent monthly water loss (November 2012) would cost the district about $100 to produce the water.

Holldber also submitted a report detailing the cost of constructing the highway tanks adjacent to Highway 243. Those totaled nearly $80,000, with labor charges of $53,800 for a total of about $133,000. The money spent to complete the tank project, compared to the ability the highway tanks give the district to move water throughout its system, was a good choice and a sound investment, according to Holldber. The board, which had recently toured the now completed installation, agreed.