Idyllwild Fire Protection District Chief Patrick Reitz attended the Fern Valley Water District board meeting to discuss how his department and the district could work more cooperatively. Of particular concern, Reitz said at the Friday, Dec. 21, meeting, were district hydrants and who, district or department, had responsibility for identifying, maintaining and testing the hydrants.

“We need to establish a written agreement that covers who, how and when, with respect to hydrant mapping, maintenance, inspection and flow testing,” Reitz said. “I would like to take a tour of the hydrant system. I need to know, at the Fern Valley and Idyllwild Water district boundaries, which are which [which hydrants belong to which district].”

Reitz also noted the importance of FVWD providing his department an indexed map of its hydrant system. “It’s important to get our guys out there to know hydrant locations and any issues,” he said.

FVWD Vice President Robert Krieger said a new agreement should clarify that IFPD has responsibility for hydrant testing. The board suggested district General Manager Steve Erler, Reitz and Deputy Fire Marshal Jack Peckham meet to draft an agreement spelling out their mutual responsibilities.

The board re-elected the same slate of officers for 2013 that had served throughout 2012. Charlie Wix will serve as president for another year, Robert Krieger as vice president and Jim Rees as secretary-treasurer. The board agreed this would be the last year officers would serve successive terms.

The board is discussing rotating the presidency beginning with the next election. “Let’s update the policy manual to include annual rotation of the board presidency,” Krieger said.

Wix questioned whether there was any need to continue discussing the San Jacinto Mountain Area Water Agency since it does not meet and there seems to be no interest on the part of the two other Hill districts to participate. “I have tried to get hold of Jim Billman [SJMAWA head] to no avail,” Wix said. “We stand ready and able and have tried unsuccessfully to suggest meeting.” Billman said he and Wix had spoken but that it had been some time ago. Idyllwild Water District President Allan Morphett said his district supports continuing the joint agency.

The FVWD board, at Krieger’s suggestion, agreed to write to the other district presidents and ask for a meeting. “We should discuss whether the agency needs to continue.”

Erler, in his general manager’s report, noted November 2012 well production is higher than same time last year because of less precipitation. Surface (stream) water availability is considerably less than same month last year. This year’s rate of flow has fallen to 50 gallons per minute compared to 204 gpm a year ago. Erler attributed the decline to less precipitation.

In other business, Erler reported that beginning Jan. 1, 2013, the Federal Communications Commission would require all public safety mobile radio systems to operating in a narrow band 12.5 kilohertz “efficiency technology.” He reported Comtronix Communications had completed the necessary license modification for the district and reprogrammed four two-way radios for narrowband. “Obsolete radios were replaced with new, the office base station and power supply was reconfigured with a new radio, and two truck radios were replaced,” said Erler. “The district is now in compliance with the FCC.”