At last week’s meeting, the officers of Pine Cove Water District were re-elected by acclamation. Mike Esnard continues as president, Lou Padula is vice president and Robert Hewitt remains secretary.
Just prior to the vote, Joel Palmer, Hewitt and Padula took the oath of office as they began their new four-year terms. Hewitt is beginning his first full term. Palmer was appointed in December 2007 and elected to a full term in August 2009. Padula was first elected in 2005 and begins his third term.
In response to Fern Valley Water District President Charile Wix’s Nov. 25 letter, which urged the three local water districts to reconvene the San Jacinto Mountain Area Water Agency, the board unanimously declined the suggestion.
“I remember the inception, an expanded sewer district, which spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and failed,” said PCWD General Manager Jerry Holldber. “Through the whole project — and Pine Cove is just as much to blame as Fern Valley and Idyllwild — it took a unanimous vote of all three districts [to take action]. One would object, then a different district would have another objection — a vicious circle.
“The agency never accomplished anything in a positive manner where we would all agree and approve,” he argued. “It’s embarrassing how much of the people’s money was spent for the agency and unfortunately, nothing to show.
“My recommendation is to let it die,” he concluded. And after a brief discussion, including the review of PCWD’s September 2009 letter to Fern Valley and Idyllwild water districts, which encouraged the SJMWA’s dissolution then and opposed any expansion of its function, Director De Eskew moved to respond with a “Thank you, but no, thank you.”
In water business, Holldber reported that district customers used 2.1 million gallons in November, which was 500,000 gallons less than October and 100,000 less than November 2012. But for the calendar year, PCWD production is about 400,000 gallons more than the same period last year.
Without a substantial decline in December, the 2013 total will be the first year production has grown since 2006.
Overall, Holldber assured the board that PCWD’s water supply has not been threatened during the recent string of dry years. The ground water level of monitoring well (No. 10) declined only a foot in November.
Since December 2011, the level has dropped 15 feet and 5 feet since July 2013. While it is at the lowest level in three years, considerable fluctuation has occurred.
“It’s the same pattern over the past eight to 10 years,” Holldber told the board. “A couple of wells we haven’t used have come up a little, but there is groundwater.”
In November, unaccounted-for water loss was 10 percent. For the past 12 months it averaged 7.85 percent, the lowest since a 7.5 percent loss for 2009.
J.P. Crumrine can be reached at [email protected]