Leaks due to frozen pipes was an important topic at the Pine Cove Water District (PCWD) Board of Directors meeting Wednesday morning, March 9.
PCWD reported about a 30,000-gallon increase in usage over the prior two years: 2,148,720 gallons in February 2022 compared to 2,118,250 in February 2021 and 2,120,410 gallons in February 2020.
“Production was up over the past two years,” Interim General Manager Jeremy Potter told the board. He said a lot of leaks were found during the cold weather. “It got down into the teens and even single digits.”
Officer Manager Becky Smith emailed residents to make sure they turn off their water before leaving, especially part-time residents. Potter was pleased that community members walked the streets searching out leaks and found some.
He said the largest leak was at a short-term rental and it happened there twice. One of the times the people staying there thought the leak was a natural creek and were taking pictures next to it. Potter told the board the first leak there was 30 gallons a minute and the second was almost 36 gallons a minute. “It really put a strain on the system,” he said and the customer has to pay the bill.
Board members wanted to know if the leaks were coming from new owners’ houses. “… lots of new people,” Director Vicki Jakubac noted. Smith responded that the majority were new owners.
The static well is down nearly 5 feet. Potter told the board PCWD hasn’t been using Dutch Flats wells but has been using Thousand Trail tanks. He said he plans to turn Dutch Flats pumps back on to give the upper wells a break.
Even with the last few storms, he said the precipitation was not ideal for coming out of Stage 2 water conservation but he’s feeling optimistic about getting more moisture.
One of two new firefighter helicopter dip tanks now at Dutch Flats had the wrong connection for the hydrant so PCWD replaced the hydrant with a 4-inch hydrant.
In order to move ahead with the U.S. Department of Agriculture loan and grant for major projects, PCWD hired the Davey Company to finish the environmental report for a cost of $24,920.
Matt LeVesque, vice president of properties for the California Inland Empire Council, appeared before the board again to ask it this time to formally de-annex Camp Emerson Boy Scout Camp from PCWD so it could annex through Idyllwild Water District (IWD).
LeVesque has said that the more than $500,000 PCWD requires to connect the camp is too expensive when IWD requires only $5,000.
The board agreed to have Potter write the letter but the council will need to make the request to the Local Area Formation Committee for approval to de-annex from PCWD and annex to IWD.
The board voted to hold a June 8 public hearing on the standby rate for 2022-23. The annual cost is $30 per acre and the proposed rate does not change.
The board also discussed going back to in-person meetings beginning with the June 8 meeting. Directors have been meeting through Zoom pursuant to the governor’s emergency declaration allowing for remote meetings during COVID, normally forbidden under the Ralph M. Brown Act.
The board met in closed session to discuss an American Tower Corporation request to keep all of the rents received for leasing the radio tower PCWD owns at Rocky Point. Jakubac reported out after the meeting that the board will consider a proposal giving PCWD 50% of the rents with additional compensation. Potter said later, “… negotiations with American Tower were suspended.”