As of Wednesday, March 16, the Idyllwild Water District (IWD) March 16 board meeting, 60 new radio water meters had been installed with 1,700 still to go. IWD General Manager Leo Havener answered questions from the directors regarding notification — “They knock on the door [of the customer] first” — and how long it takes — about 20 to 30 minutes to change out the meter.
With this new meter, the meter reader will be able to drive near the house to get the reading rather than get out of their vehicle.
Unlike the other two water districts, Havener did not report high water usage (leaks) during freezing weather.
With much community discussion about increased short-term rentals’ impacts on both water and sewer capacity, Havener showed that IWD’s Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) flows are averaging about the same now as they did on average between 2010 and 2021.
IWD Vice President Peter Szabadi asked if IWD has any way to measure equivalent dwelling units’ (one single-family, residential dwelling unit or EDU) wastewater flow.
President Charles Schelly asked, “You mean how many we have now divided by the flow?”
Director Steve Kunkle said, “We’ve been able to handle more.”
Havener added, “We’re never going to be able to really know.” He said it will take a lot of time to come up with a formula.
Schelly added, “Visitors make it difficult.” IWD experiences the most impact from tourists because it serves the downtown area.
Szabadi also noted that, “The basic problem is if there’s a rain, then that increases the flow.”
After months of deliberation on a new COVID policy suggested by Szabadi and $2,728 in attorney’s fees as of March 9, the directors voted against the policy 3-2.
“It was a total surprise to me,” commented Szabadi later, who voted for the policy.
In voting against the new policy, Dr. Charles Schelly said, “I think this is a ridiculous policy.” He believes if the district is going to have a COVID policy, it also should have a policy on every other disease, such as tuberculosis and AIDS.
Steve Olson, who also voted in favor, said later, “I understand Dr. Schelly’s position on the policy being very specific, to the exclusion of all other diseases/viruses. I voted to implement the policy because COVID-19 is and has been devastating like no other disease/virus we’ve seen during our lives. Despite the resolution failing, I am happy that the district will follow the guidance provided by Cal/OSHA.”
The new bobcat arrived. The directors all did agree 5-0 to purchase a trailer to transport the backhoe and bobcat and at a cost not to exceed $25,000. “We cannot drive a bobcat on the road,” said Havener. The water operations account will fund the purchase.
Kunkle likes the Pine Cove Water District (PCWD) policy of giving a local dining gift certificate to anyone who discovers a leak. This will appear on the next agenda.
South Ridge Tank repairs are completed at a cost of $215,500.
Matt LeVesque from Camp Emerson Boy Scouts made the request to have the PCWD portion of its camp annexed into IWD. Two out of seven of its parcels are in PCWD. PCWD has formally agreed to de-annexation.
However, the new issue of concern was that IWD passed a resolution about two years ago not to extend sewer boundaries. After some discussion about trading on old well’s water at the camp for sewer extension, the issue was left to be worked out later.
On Wednesday, May 14, IWD will hold a budget workshop followed by an open house and free lunch at noon.