General Manager Victor Jimenez reported at the Fern Valley Water District (FVWD) directors regular board meeting Sept. 20 that El-Co Contractors Inc. (El-Co) of San Bernardino had started the project to replace and install new pipelines in the Rim Rock and Azalea neighborhoods. The work is estimated to cost $1.2 million. The funds are coming out of the district’s reserves. 

“They’re doing well. Although they’ve encountered a lot of rock, so far only one had to be broken up,” Jimenez said.

When the contract was signed, Jimenez expected the project to start sooner, but El-Co was delayed because of its work for Idyllwild Water District. This summer El-Co replaced pipeline along South Circle Drive and Village Center Drive. 

Because El-Co works a four, 10-hour workday, Jimenez told the board that he planned to extend the district’s 4/10 schedule through November in order to coincide with the contractor. This would ensure better coverage and oversight of the work. The item passed unanimously. 

FVWD’s water status is good, Jimenez reported. While well production increased some in August, it was significantly less than a year ago. The August rains in Fern Valley increased run off and the district cut back on stream water use, he added.

The groundwater level of the district’s wells fell slightly in August, Jimenez reported.

In addition, the water samples for early September indicated a high coliform level in the treatment tank. Consequently, he relied more on well water. Further testing showed the initial test results were a false positive, Jimenez added. 

“We resampled with good results, all the vessels have returned to service,” he wrote in his report. 

FVWD water usage during the July and August billing period was 7.7 million gallons, which was 290,000 gallons, or just under 4% greater than July and August 2018.

For the first eight months of the year, FVWD has used 23.7 million gallons, just 34,000 gallons less than the same period a year ago.

However, unaccounted-for water usage has risen to 29% for the period. There was no discussion of this issue during the meeting. 

The board did change the date of its October meeting to 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 11 instead of Oct. 18.