Signs of General Manager Terry Lyons’ retirement are being seen more frequently at the Idyllwild Water District. At last Wednesday’s board meeting, Lyons reported that 26 applicants had responded to the board’s notices seeking a new general manager.

The list has been narrowed to six and the board will conduct interviews Thursday, Jan. 23. Lyons plans to leave at the end of February.

“I think we have a good list of GM candidates to interview,” Lyons said Thursday in an email. “They are from all over Southern California … We have some highly qualified applicants, [some of whom] have master’s degrees.”

The condition of the district’s wells generally remained the same in December. Groundwater levels were virtually unchanged except for well no. 27 near the Nature Center. Surprisingly, the groundwater level for this well rose 19 feet.

However, Lyons is still monitoring all well levels. If they resume dropping, he will assess the need for moving to a Stage 3 Water Emergency. Currently, IWD is in a Stage 2, which began in September.

Director John Cook expressed disappointment that the Emergency Water Stage 2 had not achieved the desired 10-percent reduction. Actual water production was 6.1 million gallons, 7.3 percent less than the December 2012 production volume of 6.6 million gallons.

The drop in water usage also resulted in revenue from water sales being 3.4-percent below projections, Hosny Shouman, chief finance officer, reported. The projected water revenue for December was $87,000 and the actual billing was $84,000.

Nevertheless, IWD’s financial condition continues to be good. As previously reported, in December, IWD made its final payment on the 1997 loan and now is debt-free. For the first half of fiscal year 2013-14, the net income for the water program was $120,000 and $42,000 for the sewer program.

During December, IWD received about $100,00 for property tax receipts and anticipates another $280,000 this month.

Total water production rose more than 10 percent in 2013. During the year, IWD produced 91.9 million gallons of water compared to 82.9 million gallons in 2012. This was the first-annual increase since 2009.

Also, Lyons reported that IWD had received several awards from its insurer. The Association of California Water Agencies sponsors an insurance agency that recognized IWD at the ACWA Fall Conference for having 20 percent or fewer claims in the following areas: Liability, Property and Workers Compensation programs.

“This will help maintain our premiums or lower the upcoming rates,” Lyons said.