March 2018 Water News – Covenant Edition


Mark your Calendars: Special Meeting dates have been set for Cost of Service Study (COSS), which is the legally required, critical component leading to rate increase in 2019. The following meeting dates are in addition to S.F.I.D.’s monthly Board meetings, which are held the third Thursday of each month, starting at 8:30 am. All meetings regular and special are open to the public, and provide opportunities for public comment. The District also welcomes written public comment, in the event one is unable to attend. Complete agenda packages are posted on the S.F.I.D. website at least four days before each meeting. All meetings are held at S.F.I.D. offices 5920 Linea del Cielo, RSF.

Thursday, March 29, 2018 8:30am – noon “Strategic Financial Planning w/Consultant”

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 8:30 am – noon “Water Rates w/Consultant”

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 8:30 am – noon “Regulatory Issues”

Wednesday, June 27, 2018 8:30 am – noon “Review Draft COSS” (tentative topic)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018 8:30 am – noon “Review Draft COSS” (tentative topic)

Automated Water Meters: The District is in year two of a five year program to replace manual read water meters with automated meters which transmit hourly usage data. Most meters in Fairbanks Ranch were changed out during the month of February 2018, with some Covenant customers scheduled this spring while other routes in the Covenant in future years. District staff has yet to set a definitive start date when customers with the new AMI meters will be able to access a portal allowing one to conveniently see their water usage. I will continue to inquire about the delay, and keep you informed when protocols for accessing the portal are up and running.

Helpful hint if your meter has yet to be changed out: I have heard that some customers are concerned that the process of transferring meter data from the old meter to the new meter could result in increased billing if the numbers transfer is not accurate. While protocols are in place to ensure accuracy, if you’re a belt and suspenders kind of person, I suggest when you receive the door hanger notifying the meter replacement will occur within a two day period, take your smart phone or any device that will take a picture, and simply take a time/date stamped photo of your meter reading on the end of the day before the two day period.

“Heads Up” warning…the lid of your new automated water meter has radio read wires attached from the round black rubber disc on the top of the lid to the meter, therefore care must be taken to not damage these wires and the meter when the lid is removed. Please caution your landscaper/gardener/plumber that the lid must be carefully removed and placed to the left of the meter to prevent damage. Unfortunately the S.F.I.D. website currently does not provide our customers with proper photos and instructions. However, our neighboring Olivenhain Municipal Water District website has photos and excellent instructions that are available to anyone. (My hope is that I will be able to report in next month’s column that the S.F.I.D. website also now provides its customers photos and instructions for the proper removal of the new automated meter lids.)

Does weather forecasting capture your imagination? If so, I want to bring to your attention Dr. Daniel Swain’s California Weather Blog. This blog is first rate – a wonderful combination of technical information, forecasting, visual charts and clear writing. Swain is the person who three years ago coined the phrase, “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge”, to help explain California’s continuing drought. Swain received his doctorate at Stanford, and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA, “studying the changing character and causes of extreme meteorological events”. I love his blog for a number of reasons: he publishes remarks every two or three weeks; he often includes “moving” maps which help one understand global weather patterns; he has a real talent for reducing technical concepts to easily understood language, and he has a loyal following who add their climate expertise remarks to the discussion at hand. His most recent February 25th blog entry focused on the Sierra Nevada snowfall and handicapped prospects for a March Miracle. Blog comments added detailed snowfall measurements, beautiful photos, warnings about road closures, rainfall observations around the Santa Barbara Thomas Fire area, to say nothing of a delightful film of a dog “swimming” in deep fresh snow and an adorable film of a cat burrowing into fresh snow in such a manner that only the cat’s head and end of tail were visible! I highly recommend you give a spin and see if it suits you.

January 2018 water consumption: January’s rainfall resulted in residential gallons/capita/day of 251.