Tom Lynch of Norwalk, is the new general manager for Idyllwild Water District. Retired General Manager Terry Lyons, who started in October 2003, has led the search for his successor for the past several months.
At their Feb. 19 meeting, directors unanimously approved Lynch’s selection. His first day with the water district was Monday, Feb. 24.
Lynch is the former assistant city manager of Norwalk, a Los Angeles County suburb of more than 100,000. He is a part-time professor in the Business Management programs of both the University of Southern California and California State University, Los Angeles. Lynch is an inventor and created and built a water district in his youth. He moved into his Hill residence Sunday evening.
This was Lyons’ last board meeting and directors described it as bittersweet and wished him and his family well in retirement.
“I’m looking forward to the retirement,” Lyons said. “We will always have the wonderful memories [of] living in Idyllwild. It’s definitely an amazing community.”
In water business, Lyons reported that IWD remains in a Stage 2 water emergency. Foster Lake is still empty and flow in Strawberry Creek is virtually nil, so no water has been diverted to the lake.
The ground-water level of wells near Foster Lake has dropped nearly 3 feet in the past month. However, the ground-water level of some district wells, such as at the Nature Center, has risen in the same period.
In the midst of the statewide drought, IWD is able to expand its water supply. A filter recently purchased for $2,300 will be installed for the Oakwood Well, which the district purchased in 2010, said Lyons. With this equipment, the Department of Health will approve the well’s addition to IWD’s distribution system, thus adding another 35 gallons per minute to the system.
In January, IWD water production of 6.3 million gallons was 2 million gallons or 24 percent fewer than January 2013. Despite the drought, water production was still higher than January from 2010 through 2012.
However, unaccounted-for water losses were 9 percent in January, an increase of 0.3 percent over 8.7 percent in December, which is about 2.1 percent more than the average for the past year. Director John Cook asked about the value of this lost water and Lyons replied that it’s about $6,100.
Lyons attributed this to leaks on Deerfoot and Maranatha, which have been repaired and the loss should be smaller next month.
The recently completed income survey confirmed the board’s belief that state Department of Water Resources’ data overestimated the income level of IWD’s customers. The California Rural Water Association, which conducted the survey for IWD, affirmed that IWD would be able to qualify as a “disadvantaged community.
The classification will improve IWD’s chances to qualify for more state grant money to fund the construction of the proposed recycling facility.
In a business note, the district announced a settlement of its litigation with former Auditor Controller Jim Ludy. IWD will pay him $100,000, according to Lyons.