During the latest Idyllwild Water District meeting, General Manager Tom Lynch discussed efforts to revive about 10 existing horizontal wells above Foster Lake.
The lake remains dry. Lynch showed the directors photos of the empty reservoir, and the water district is still in a Water Emergency Stage 2. “The wells at the lake remain critical to watch,” he told the board.
The depth of the Foster Lake wells is about 49 feet, only a foot above the district’s trigger for Stage 3, Lynch said.
“We’re focused on finding new water sources,” he said and those sources already belong to the district and have been producing in the past. Above Foster Lake are about 10 horizontal wells and four vertical wells.
After sampling the water, Lynch has initiated a project to revive these water sources. Much of the work involves rehabilitating the pipeline system from the wells to collect the water, which will flow into the lake to recharge the nearby production wells.
He said he has applied for grant funding to help with this project. If the district succeeds in connecting the wells to its production system, the project would be the equivalent of a well producing 15 to 20 gallons per minute, according to Lynch, who added that he hopes to compete it before 2015.
During the discussion, Director John Cook said that some district residents have asked him about the impact of water usage that will occur if the proposed brewery opens in Strawberry Plaza.
“How does that impact the water district?” Cook inquired. “Are they taking water that our customers are saving?”
The owners have already drilled a well, which is producing water, Lynch replied. He stressed that property owners may drill their own wells since IWD is not an adjudicated district.
However, if the water is used for public consumption, as opposed to private use, the water must meet state standards, just as the district’s water must.
At this point, Lynch and the owners have not had any discussion about future water use or the disposition of the well. “They may dedicate to the district,” he speculated. “It’s in a good location and has good production, but I don’t know. But it will be expensive to operate.”
Board President Jim Billman also asked if the new well were used for the brewery if that would affect production of any IWD wells in the neighborhood. Lynch replied that he was not sure, “but I will watch it.”
During October, IWD customers used about 6.8 million gallons, which was about 4.2 percent (about 275,000 gallons) more than during October 2013. For the 10 months since the beginning of 2014, IWD production is 8 percent (6.3 million gallons) less than the same period in 2013.
Water loss has dropped to 3.26 percent in October, Lynch reported to the board.