District and MDP to discuss cooperative venture


Two representatives — President Mike Feyder and Director Thom Wallace — from Mountain Disaster Preparedness visited the Fern Valley Water District’s July meeting.

MDP would like to locate another Disaster Assistance Station in Fern Valley. Feyder and Wallace said they would like to discuss the possibility of placing it on FVWD property.

Currently, MDP has a station at St. Hugh’s Episcopal Church on South Circle opposite the FVWD office building. MDP would like to place a second station further up Fern Valley, Feyder said.

The DAS is a metal unit about 10 feet by 10 feet and stocked with medical supplies, search and rescue equipment, and other supplies (not food). MDP maintains eight stations from Pine Cove to Mountain Center and believes another one in Fern Valley would be beneficial for residents closer to Humber Park.

“How can we start a dialogue about placement of a unit in upper Fern Valley?” Feyder asked the FVWD directors. “There is no financial support needed. It costs us about $15,000 to purchase a station and stock it.”

FVWD President James Rees expressed the directors’ pleasure to initiate this cooperative venture. He indicated that there might be several suitable spots and the subject would be placed on a future agenda for the board to discuss.

Equipment purchases were on the meeting’s agenda. General Manager Victor Jimenez presented recommendations to purchase new water meters, a hot tapping machine and a new manager’s vehicle.

The board approved the first two, but felt the current vehicle still had substantial life before replacement. “With 71,000 miles on the vehicle,” Jimenez said, “there are no problems yet, but we could get good money for it now. At 100,000 miles, it would have less value.”

Since the vehicle is about 12 years old, the board felt it could wait several more years before a replacement is needed.

In a different vein, the board readily concurred with Jimenez’s recommendation to replace water meters over the next two years. He plans to purchase about 600 meters this year and the balance of 575 next year. Installing the new meters may begin as early as fall, according to Jimenez.

The new meters may help address the district’s chronic problem of water losses exceeding 10 percent. Jimenez indicated there may be other non-mechanical reasons, but new meters would be a good start.

The existing meters are between 15 and 20 years old, which is the normal replacement period, he added.

Besides the meter project, Jimenez said staff will begin installing new fire hydrants through out the district and a hot tapping machine enables staff to do the replacement without needing special help or a part-time welder.

Director Robert Krieger requested that Jimenez add some more detail to his future recommendations so the board has more understanding of the costs and options.

In water business, Jimenez reported that during the May and June billing period, the district produced 6.8 million gallons of water. This was 2.3 million more than the March and April period and almost 1 million greater than the May and June period in 2016.

For the first six months of 2017, FVWD’s water production has been 14 percent greater than 2016 or 1.9 million gallons.

Jimenez also reported that although the groundwater level of the wells had fallen in June, the overall trends have been good this spring.

Even with the increased production, its wells provided 17 percent of the district’s needs compared with 25 percent in 2016. Storage and stream flow were other sources.