Our Water Rights

Our Responsibilities

Our Irrigation System

Sprinkler Specifications

Finances and Budget

News and Bulletins

Download Documents


Fall 2010 Newsletter

Welcome to Vista Vu Water Users Association's newsletter. Our purpose is to keep you informed about important activities and projects that your Board of Trustees is undertaking on your behalf. Since our last Membership meeting in September 2010 we have been very busy on several fronts. The domestic System Expansion and Arsenic Remediation project went out to bid, the irrigation Variable Frequency Drive project is underway, and there have been important changes to the way small domestic water systems like ours are being treated with respect to water rights.

Domestic System Expansion and Arsenic Remediation

The engineering design and contract documents were finished in September and the project was put out to bid. At bid opening on Oct. 6 we were surprised by higher bids than either we or the engineer had expected. The apparent low bidder failed to acknowledge an addendum to the bid documents, creating a situation where it would be difficult to avoid challenges had we accepted either of the two lowest bids. On the advice of our attorney we rejected all bids. We will re-bid the project in January with some scaling back of the scope of work to be contracted.

Irrigation System Variable Frequency Drive

Work has begun on the installation of an automated controller for our main irrigation pump. Some sub-standard - and unsafe - above-ground electrical power wiring must be replaced with underground cable in conduit to bring our pump-house into compliance with the Electrical Code. Your Board contracted for excavating the ditch, removed a clump of trees and installed the conduit. Okanogan PUD will install a new pole, relocate transformers and pull underground cable as soon as our electrical contractor has installed the new service entrance.

As winter is fast approaching, we will delay installing the controller until warmer weather returns in March, 2011. The Board, with help from a few members, has installed a door, completed new siding on the pump-house walls and will replace the roof after the controller is installed next spring.

The extra electrical work increased our costs significantly, but can be covered by our PUD loan and using some of our reserves in the irrigation budget.

A Favorable State Supreme Court Opinion

Earlier this month the State Supreme Court handed down an Opinion in Lummi Nation v. State of Washington that affects us in a beneficial way. Small water systems like ours with 15 or more connections will be able to distribute water anywhere within their service areas just as a municipality can. We will no longer be limited to just 25 connections, nor restricted as to where they may be installed. Further, we will be able to lease domestic water to downstream users for either replacement of interruptible supplies or for project mitigation.

This legal decision will give us access to additional income we would not otherwise have and make it easier to repay our 20-year Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) loan. Owners with 10.5 acres or more of land will be able to subdivide into 5.25 acre parcels and get domestic water connections.

Raft Removal

Last Friday, Nov. 12, we removed the raft from the Okanogan River and have it stored on land until we need it again in the Spring. Over the winter months we'll be repairing the fish screens and having the machine shop resurface the river pump impellers.

Thanks to Dan Leonard, Jack Crane and Jim Truitt who helped us with the heavy lifting! Without work parties to do this kind of community work, we'd have to raise your rates to unaffordble levels.

Domestic Rate Increase

While your Board does not enjoy passing on a rate increase, we do need to step up the domestic rate $10 per month starting Jan 1, 2011. This rate increase will be used to repay our DWSRF loan. Your January billing will show a new rate of $50/month - still below what most small water systems in the county charge their customers.

Bob Goodwin
Vista Vu Water Users Association

Go to top of page

For further information contact: Stu Skidmore, President; Doug Marsh, Vice President;
Bob Goodwin
, Secretary/Treasurer; Mike Stenberg, Trustee; or, Ken Vanderstoep, Trustee.

We welcome your comments on the website.