“Our water demand dropped considerably from summer,” Fern Valley Water District General Manager Steve Erler told the directors at the Nov. 21 meeting. “This is relatively consistently normal for this time of year.”

While the September and October usage of 6.7 million gallons was 700,000 gallons less than the July and August consumption, it was the first two-month billing period during 2014 that was more than its comparable 2013 period. During the fall of 2013, FVWD customers consumed 6.1 million gallons.

However, since the beginning of 2014, total FVWD consumption of 29.7 million gallons is nearly 3.5 million gallons (10.4 percent) less than the first 10 months of 2013.  It is also the fewest number of gallons consumed during this period in more than 10 years.

The district’s wells are providing about 40 percent of the water demand and Erler is comfortable with their condition, he told the board. However, he is concerned that the 12-month average of water loss or unaccountable usage remains about 15 percent of production. In the past two billing periods, this has fallen to less than 10 percent.

Within the next year, he plans a concerted effort to investigate leaks within the distribution system. One significant leak on Cougar Road was repaired this month.

Board President Robert Krieger agreed that the goal of less than 10 percent was good, but “might require a lot of pipeline replacement.”

Two capital improvement projects — the razing of Tank no. 5 and the replacement of pipe and valves at the district’s tank farm on Fern Valley Road — scheduled for this fiscal year have been completed, Erler reported. Final cost for both projects was under budget.

The board also discussed a letter from Best, Best and Krieger, its legal firm, asking whether FVWD wants them to remain as legal counsel. The question occurred because of the limited number of services FVWD has requested in the past few years.

“We don’t use them routinely because we don’t have a lot of legal issues,” Krieger said. Since BBK represented the district before it became a public agency and since 1955, Krieger recommended he respond to the letter affirming FVWD’s intention to retain BBK as legal counsel. His colleagues concurred.