Fern Valley Water District directors discussed the timing of their second payment to CalPERS to prefund FVWD’s post-employment benefits last Friday. The board has planned to pay another $200,000 this fiscal year, which will reduce interest owed in future years. FVWD expects to save more than $20,000 annually, beginning next year, according to Victor Jimenez, FVWD general manager.

As CalPERS expenses continue to increase, for example, the expected investment rate was decreased this year. Two other Riverside County local jurisdictions — Indian Wells and Rancho Mirage — have begun to reduce or eliminate their unfunded balance in order to avoid growing interest payments.

The district plans to have an actuarial study done later this year to assess future costs and interest savings.

The recent rains and snows have benefited the district. Recovery of well levels has begun. The groundwater level of the FVWD monitoring well, in front of the office, rose nearly 4.5 feet in January.

“We’re getting a ton of moisture impacting all wells,” Jimenez said. “They all are coming up.”

The groundwater level rose in 11 wells last month. Increases ranged from 2.5 feet to almost 9 feet, according to Jimenez.

Creek-water diversion has declined this winter, not only consistent with FVWD’s permit, but Jimenez said, “No creek water because of too much turbidity.”

Well sampling has increased as a preventive measure because of the recent rain, he added.

As of the meeting, no one has submitted an application for the board seat vacated by the resignation of Charlie Wix.

“I’m sorry to see Charlie leave. He’s done a good job,” said President James Rees to Wix, who attended the meeting. “I hope we get somebody as good as you.”

“Well, after that many years, it’s time for somebody else,” Wix replied. Wix was appointed in August 2006. He served 10 years and five months.