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Fall 2012 Newsletter #2

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.

Domestic System Shut-Down

Starting at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, October 15th, there will be a shutdown of the domestic water system while plumbing and electrical work is underway in the pump house to remedy ongoing problems with the arsenic removal units. We expect to have the water back online by 4:00 p.m. Please prepare for this event by having filled containers at hand for cooking, washing and toilet flushing.

Avoiding Cross Contamination

The loss of pressure while work is underway sets us up for backflow events that can cause contamination if there are any cross-connections to non-potable water sources. The most likely culprits are stock tanks and garden hoses. Please make sure your stock tank valves have the required air gaps, or are disconnected from supply lines during the time the system is down. Also please disconnect garden hoses from hose bibs as a precaution.

After the work is completed we will chlorinate the system for disinfection as required by the Health Department. When water pressure is restored we advise running your faucets until you smell chlorine. This will minimize any small risk of ingesting contaminants that might get sucked into the system.
Thank you for your cooperation and patience while the shut-down is in effect.

Domestic Water Metering Complete

Elsbree, Oestreich, Stenberg, Vanderstoep, Shove and Marsh households are now metered. With this our metering is now complete. We did discover that Lind's meter was running backwards as a result of the meter tube being hooked up incorrectly. We will dig up the meter tube next Spring and re-plumb it correctly.

Latest Water Usage

Now that all our 21 household connections are metered we are collecting some good data on how much water we're using. The table below shows what each household was using in early-October. (Names are omitted to protect privacy. You will receive a separate email that will identify your household usage data.)

Household ID No Useage (gals/day)

Fifty percent of households used less than 228 gals/day; fifty percent more. Differences can be attributed to stock watering, hot tubs, family size, as well as personal conservation habits. Under discussion by your Board of Trustees is a goal to reduce consumption wherever possible to 250 gals/day per household. The most effective way to achieve this goal is to impose a surcharge on use over 250 gals/day.

1 1,647
2 1,610
3 939
4 932
5 740
6 418
7 377
8 351
Total 9,153
Mean 436
Median 228

Financial Crisis Averted

Last Friday the Public Works Board (PWB) granted us a 5-year extension to our Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan and a 3-year deferral of principle and interest payments. On October 1st an $8,000 loan payment came due and we had insufficient reserves to to cover it. The reasons have to do with both capital cost increases and a revenue shortfall. Capital costs to complete the arsenic removal and system expansion project rose as a result of unanticipated electric power supply issues, engineering errors and operational problems with the arsenic adsorption units. Projected revenues from new hook-ups and water sales never materialized as the recession shut down the housing market, putting development in Vista Vue on hold.
With completion next week of improvements to the arsenic removal system, our capital expenditures should come to a halt for the next few years. The three-year deferral of our loan payments and extension of the loan term to 25 years will give us a window of time to restore our reserves and return us to a healthy financial condition before the next payment comes due in October, 2015.

Rate Changes Are Required

The PWB has placed some conditions on the loan adjustment: First we must adopt a tiered rate structure similar to the one described in the last Newsletter; second we must increase the infrastructure fee by $5 per month to produce a steady revenue stream unrelated to the amount of water each household uses. These funds will be set aside to make loan repayments.
Your Board is refining a tiered rate structure that will be presented to the membership next month. While the details are still sketchy, we can say with certainty that our heavy water users will be paying more, while those who conserve will see little change in their dues.
Stay tuned for more details.

Bob Goodwin
Vista Vu Water Users Association

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

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