Directors of the Idyllwild Water District re-elected Jim Billman for a second term as president last week. John Cook was re-elected vice president.
Despite the recent siege of rainstorms, the district’s Foster Lake reservoir remains empty. Although Strawberry Creek has been flowing in various locations, little surface water has passed near IWD’s diversion site to Foster Lake.
The district continues to use its wells, reported General Manager Tom Lynch. Rehabilitation of the Oakwood well is complete and water samples have been submitted for testing. Lynch expects to connect the well to the distribution system within weeks.
He also reported on some preliminary discussions with the Camp Emerson Boy Scout camp representatives on the possibility of restoring a well on the camp property for their use and also connecting it to IWD’s system.
As reported last month, IWD is working to rehabilitate the horizontal wells above Foster Lake in order to add them to the distribution system later this winter, once the testing of water quality is approved. Lynch also reported on the possibility of developing some vertical wells in this area once electricity is connected and the pumps evaluated.
During November, IWD produced nearly 7 million gallons of water, which was about 100,000 gallons more than October and 135,000 gallons more than November 2013.
For the 11 months since the beginning of 2014, total IWD production has been 79.6 million gallons, which is 6.2 million gallons (7.2 percent) less than the same period in 2013. But the water production for this year was more than during the same period in 2011 and 2012.
Chief Finance Officer Hosny Shouman reported that revenue was less than projected and Cook commented, “Our residents are conserving.” For the first five months of the fiscal year, water sales have been about 7.5 percent less than projected, Shouman said after the meeting.
Lynch also reported that the unaccounted-for water usage in December was 2.4 percent, about two-thirds of the average since July and significantly less than the highs of 12 to 15 percent. “This is great news,” Lynch said. “Leakage and losses are being reduced and our guys are making the repairs.”
In other financial news, Lynch reported that he had submitted three grant requests to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The funding would help the district rehabilitate and restore production facilities such as the horizontal wells, tanks, pipelines, meters and solar facility.
Shouman is also investigating using actuarial consultants who can evaluate the district’s unfunded post-retirement liabilities. Most special districts are in the process of obtaining these evaluations since they will be required to include them in future audits.
The board also approved an increase in employees’ compensation and health-care benefits. Based on the consumer price index’s 3-percent growth this year, the board unanimously granted a 2-percent salary increase and 1-percent increase for medical benefits. Shouman said the full year total cost for these changes would be about $8,800.