Despite worries about the statewide drought, General Manager Steve Erler said he is not worried about Fern Valley Water District’s water supplies this spring.
During the board’s Jan 17 meeting, Erler said, “The lack of rain and snow pack is a concern to me. But at this time we should be fine.
“I’m keeping an eye on resources,” he stressed. “All the wells are looking pretty good.”
While FVWD normally diverts water from Strawberry and Tahquitz creeks during the winter months, Erler said, “We haven’t diverted water from Strawberry Creek in more than nine months. There’s not much flow.” But Tahquitz Creek is flowing and is a water source for the district.
Erler said the district also uses some storage as relief from the diminished stream flow. But he expects to increase groundwater usage during the rest of the winter and spring.
Reduced creek flow puts more pressure on the district’s wells, which are stable and sufficient. “The production capacity of ground water is adequate to meet the normal and projected demand for the future,” he told the board.
The well levels have been rising. In his report, Erler wrote, “Static well level recording for January shows gains in all but two wells over the last month … [but] well levels are zero to seven feet lower compared to the same time as last year.”
For 2013, FVWD customers consumed 37.6 million gallons of water, which was 63,600 gallons less than in 2012. FVWD was the only Hill district that saw a decline in water consumption during 2013 and this is the lowest volume for FVWD since 2003.
The water consumption for the November to December billing period declined 3.8 percent from last year, but water revenue still increased 4 percent compared to 2012. This is the result of the new rates this year.
The first six months of the fiscal year (July 1 through Dec. 31, 2013), saw a $650,000 deficit. This is entirely attributable to the pipeline project. The operating budget is positive and will improve as the fiscal year ends.