By Jason KUROSU
The Tuesday meeting of the Crescenta Valley Water District touched upon a few new projects to CVWD facilities, including a study to increase the local water supply and adding a retaining wall between a CVWD reservoir and a residential area.
The project, known as the Verdugo Basin Stormwater Recharge Facility Study, is intended to explore the usage of stormwater gathered from Crescenta Valley Park to recharge the Verdugo Basin. The study, which would involve monitoring the park’s groundwater and a series of other tests, would only be the first part of the project. If successful, the second part of the project would be the construction of facilities for capturing surface runoff. It is estimated that the project will increase local water supply by 340 acre-feet per year.
According to CVWD engineer David Gould, CVWD received a grant from the California State Dept. of Water Resources for $158,000 as part of DWR’s Local Groundwater Assistance Grant Program, which provides funds to local agencies to conduct groundwater studies. However, the initial goal for the project is a budget of $250,000, so Gould discussed options for attaining the remaining $92,000, either by attaining funds from the Metropolitan Water District’s Foundational Actions Funding Plan or utilizing water reserves to fully fund the project.
There were some reservations as to whether the funding should be pursued, should the $250,000 estimate made in July 2012 be exceeded by unforeseen circumstances. But when asked whether he felt good about the $250,000 mark, Gould was confident that the project would not exceed that estimate.
Ultimately, the board approved going ahead with the project.
The second item involved the construction of a concrete wall between the north side of the Ordunio Reservoir on Honolulu and Lowell avenues and a nearby house on Lowell. The district previously removed Eucalyptus trees from the reservoir’s property that intruded upon the resident’s property and the discussion of a wall has been in the works for a few years.
According to Gould, “The homeowner has contacted the district over the last few months and frankly asked us, ‘Please put the wall in and replace the fence along the property.’”
The meeting discussion revolved around the funding of the project, estimated at $36,000. Gould said that part of the cost for the wall and fence would be shared between CVWD and the resident, but also requested a budget increase for reservoir maintenance from the water board, balancing out the costs of building the wall and money that Gould said had been cut out of the maintenance budget earlier.
Gould admitted that there were some issues to erecting the wall, including obtaining permits for a six-foot high fence. If the grant and permits are approved, it is estimated that construction would begin in February 2014. The board approved the budget adjustment.
The board also discussed the prospect of renting out district- owned properties to CVWD employees. Some board members expressed concerns that conflicts may arise from renting to employees.
Board member Ken Putnam argued that renting to certain employees and not others might suggest favoritism. Kerry Erickson agreed, saying “it might set a precedent which could cause problems down the road.”
“I feel like we’re trying to prevent a problem that doesn’t exist, though,” said board member James Bodnar. “I think that it’s very common in a water district that properties are rented to employees.”
Bodnar elaborated on how complicated it would be to rent to the general public, but not employees as the spouses and family members of district employees would then be eligible to rent for the restricted employee.
It was eventually approved by a 4-1 majority that the properties should be rented out to the general public and employees alike.