Fern Valley Water District (FVWD) General Manager Victor Jimenez reported that water loss was up in January and February due to water leaks during the freezing temperatures. “The majority was two leaks we had …” he said. “We definitely experienced some breaks as well.”
He also pointed out to the directors at their Friday, March 18 meeting, that water consumption of single customers with multiple connections had risen in those two months compared to the same two months last year. Last year, water consumption was 40,967 cubic feet (CF) compared to 63,753 this year. This was attributed to AstroCamp opening up after a COVID shutdown last year.
He said he will be reporting the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) inspection at the next meeting, scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday, April 14 instead of Friday, April 15.
A discussion ensued among the directors and staff when President Bob Krieger asked what the license allows FVWD as far as creek diversion. Krieger wanted to know if the SWRCB would allow a waiver on restrictions. “I’m not sure if anyone [at the SWRCB] pays any attention to it anymore,” he said.
Later, Jimenez explained that FVWD is permitted to divert surface water for direct use throughout the year up to 215 gallons per minute (GPM): 90 GPM from Strawberry Creek and 125 GPM from Tahquitz Creek.
FVWD also is permitted to divert to long-term storage from March 1 to June 30. The maximum annual allowed diversion is 198-acre feet (AF) a year, which includes 168 AF/year of direct diversion plus 30 AF/year of long-term storage.
“When surface water is available, FVWD treats the raw water through the 250 GPM EPD (Environmental Products Division) treatment plant located near Humber Park,” he wrote. “The treated water is then stored in storage tanks and distributed by gravity to FVWD customers. The filtered surface water is augmented by water produced from wells on an as needed basis.
“Direct diversions must be used within 30 days and storage diversions can be held until needed to augment surface water supplies.”
Other restrictions apply to the diversions.
“We’re looking good so far,” Jimenez told the board at the meeting. “We’ve gotten some pretty good rain … The creeks are running really well right now. I’m sure by the next meeting all the tanks will be full.”
Krieger noted that historically, FVWD used all surface water. “We use wells freely now …,” he said. “Our water supply has improved in the last 20 years significantly.”
Director Walt Bonneau inquired about the water quality in regards to toxicity or total organic carbon (TOC).
Jimenez said snow contains a lot of TOCs. Director Jon Brown noted that ash could be an issue as well, contributing to TOCs.
The meeting moved to inquiries about the new rain barrel rebate program. Assistant General Manager Jessica Priefer said only one customer with an existing system who needs a tank replaced had inquired after the advertisement ran in the Town Crier.
The board noted that as customers begin considering gardening, the program may become more popular. Brown suggested the Idyllwild Garden Club might mention the program in its newsletter.