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April 22, 2010

MSWD Board Meeting - April 19

The audio recording of this meeting of the Mission Springs Water District board is available here.

Roll call was performed by John Soulliere, sitting in the seat formerly occupied by Tina Dodd who is soon to leave the district.

First item of business was awarding a five-year pin to Sean Maguire. Here's a link to a photo of Sean Maguire and John Furbee [let's see if this thing works].

Public Comments

David Peet talked about the Wellness & World Music Festival coming in October. He handed out the page of information that I posted earlier. Besides the April 21 press release announcing the wellness line-up, a billboard will go up along I-10 later this month. "Wellness" will include yoga, exercise, nutrition and more. Rodney Yee and Dr. Steven Gundry are definitely topping the list. Musical artists will be announced later. Within the Wellness Experience there will be the Spa Experience. I am sure that water will be drunk!

Then Tony Clarke came to the podium. Originally, they had estimated the festival could attract 5,000 people to a one-day Saturday event plus a Friday night benefit event. Now they are estimating 20,000 attendees. That would be 10,000 on Saturday plus 10,000 on Sunday. Mr. Clarke said he would like to see Mission Springs Water District as a participant and a sponsor.

Mr. Clarke credited Dr. Gundry with "being part of the team that performed the first human heart transplant." I'm sure we all recall that the first human heart transplant was performed in South Africa in 1967. What Dr. Gundry participated in was the first heart transplant from baboon to human in 1984 at Loma Linda.

In response to a question from Randy Duncan, Mr. Clarke said that Two Bunch Palms could not make a commitment for October because of the receivership, so the venue for the festival has been moved to Mission Springs Park including some of the middle school grounds, the Aqua Soleil hotel and "the vacant lot." I don't know if he meant the empty land south and west of the park or the county-owned site north of the park.

The festival is working with Commander Smith of the DHS Police to develop parking plans. They plan on an average of 2 people per vehicle, so that means 5,000 parking spots per day. An interesting figure to have at hand right now would be the total number of parking spots in the entire city.

Director Bowman said that the Coachella Fest brings a big economic impact to the valley because all the hotels fill up. He mentioned the Bhakti Fest that takes place in Joshua Tree. He said it also brings guests to the hotels and spas in DHS.

President Furbee said he thought the Wellness Festival needed to worry about parking.

Mr. Clarke said that Coachella Fest spends its money and marketing outside the valley. Coachella Fest makes no attempt to include the local community.

Public Affairs Committee

Vice President Brown said that while staying within the limits of the law, they are doing what they can to promote the federal appropriation of the $35 million for sewer construction.

2010 Water Bond

The board adopted by a 4-0 vote the following staff-recommended resolution.


Board of Directors of Mission Springs Water District, in Support of the Safe, Clean, Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2010

Whereas, the Mission Springs Water District is dedicated to its mission to provide, protect and preserve its most valuable resource - water and is proud to serve its award-winning water to customers in Desert Hot Springs, California and the surrounding areas; and

Whereas, the District's customers should be commended for their conservation efforts, resulting in a low per-capita usage rate in relation to the statewide average, and although the District continues to develop comprehensive water management strategies, there is a continued need for importation of water to meet current and future demand; and

Whereas, the District's continued valuable water resources depend on its allocation of replenishment water from its state water contractor - Desert Water Agency; and

Whereas, Desert Water Agency and Coachella Valley Water District, also a state water contractor within the Coachella Valley, have adopted resolutions of support of the Safe, Clean, Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2010, stating that the well-being of the economy and residents within their service areas and, in turn, the entire Coachella Valley, is directly dependent on the reliability of several water sources-one of which is the State Water Project; and

Whereas, with respect to the State Water Project, the ecosystem within the California Delta is in such rapid decline that supplies are not only being reduced significantly, but the entire source could be in jeopardy because of events ranging from judicial rulings to major earthquakes; and

Whereas, the crisis is accelerated by the reality that the State Water Project was never built to the extent originally planned, and that although tens of millions of people have been added to the state's population, there have been no meaningful improvements to this system in more than 35 years; and

Whereas, without a reliable water supply statewide, economic recovery will be difficult to achieve within a time period that shields millions of residents from economic hardship that could last for years, if not permanently; and

Whereas, state lawmakers in 2009 passed a series of bills meant to address several crucial components of the water crisis, including the Safe, Clean, Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2010-an $11.14 billion bond measure that will be placed before voters in the general election in November 2010; and

Whereas, in addition to funding Delta restoration, this bond provides funding statewide for other water supply reliability projects, water-affected ecosystem repair, water quality improvements, more effective groundwater management, recycling and other conservation measures;

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Board of Directors of the Mission Springs Water District, endorses and supports passage of the Safe, Clean, Reliable Drinking Water Act of 2010 as being in the best interest of residents, business owners and others who work, live and play in its service area.


Two things:

  1. The supplement to the MOU to clarify the funding among the five water purveyors.
  2. The agreement with RMC Water and Environmental to develop the IRWMP.

If you recall, the second item wasn't available for review by the directors at the workshop last Thursday because the attorney still had some work to do. But today, the attorney-approved version was available. The issue that was discussed was that one unnamed water district (not MSWD) had budgeted much less than the amount needed to cover their one-fifth share of the cost. That full, total cost of the contract would have been $696,725, or $139,345 each. The contract was written so that some of the work is "optional," the optional work not being counted in the bill - yet. The work that is not optional comes to $545,841, or $109,168.20 each.

Vice President Brown said MSWD had originally budgeted $187,000 for this. He asked when the "optional" tasks would become actual parts of the contract. He thinks the all the optional tasks should be done.

Marilyn McKay said the consultant said that early on in the process the participants will see that the optional tasks must be performed. MSWD has already budgeted the money to cover that. The other four participants may or may not have to revise their budgets.

V.P. Brown said that using the word "optional" in a contract is a foreboding of trouble down the line.

The unnamed water purveyor's board had put a limit of $100,000 on what they would pay, but $109,168.20 was close enough [hey, it's government work].

Director Wright pointed out that we have to have an IRWMP that will pass DWR standards [or there's no reason to do it]. Vice President Brown said the full contract should be negotiated now, not wait and negotiate the optional tasks later.

Ms. McKay said the unnamed partner had indicated a willingness to consider the optional tasks when the activities demanded it. The negotiators for the other four partners (including MSWD) said they would rather go to their boards with a request to budget the full cost for the whole job.

Director Wright said it has been her experience with that particular purveyor that "that's just the way they do business." Ms. McKay said that there had been a similar experience with the Water Management Plan which was negotiated with that same unnamed water purveyor.

General Manager Wallum said it is not likely that DWR will let this fly unless all of the tasks (including the optional ones) are done. RMC has said they will not let the five partners develop an inadequate plan.

Director Wright said she didn't think any of the participants wants to delay the IRWMP process. She said "they have constituents who really need - REALLY NEED this by the time grants are ready to be gotten."

There had been sufficient hints at this point to guess that the unnamed cheapie is CVWD. [UPDATE - I was wrong. It was NOT CVWD!]

I'm sure that by now you've got ants in your pants wondering what is being shoved into the "optional" category. Under "optional" you'll find...

  • Website development and maintenance.
  • Preparation of administrative drafts for the following required sections of the IRWMP:
    1. Data management
    2. Finance
    3. Technical analysis
    4. Relation to local water planning
    5. Relation to local land use planning
  • Coordination of data needs and submission of the implementation grant application.
  • Four additional stakeholder workshops, prioritization, draft IRWMP, final IRWMP, and six additional CVAC meetings.

As you can see, none of those are actually "optional."

Both resolutions were approved 4-0.

Contract With TKE Engineering

Approved 4-0


Vice President Brown talked about ways MSWD might participate in the Wellness & World Music Festival. He mentioned, of course, water and also cooling stations.

I'd like to suggest that rather than our bottled water that usually shows up at events, MSWD install a few taps. Something nice looking. Each one with a sign identifying it as award winning Mission Springs Water. And then you let everybody just fill up their own water containers. Some entrepreneur could sell cups, jugs, bottles and other water carrying devices. Not only would it be less wasteful than plastic bottles, but it would create quite an impression on all those people who have lost the habit of drinking TAP WATER. If you wanted to get fancy, you could hook up a water meter and display the total number of gallons dispensed and what the retail cost of that would be for a MSWD customer so people could be doubly impressed with how very cheap tap water is.

Mr. Brown also brought up a suggestion to ask the Hoteliers Association for their support and assistance on the FOG program. Fourteen (or eight, depending on who's doing the counting) businesses are still not in compliance, and some of those businesses are hoteliers. G.M. Wallum explained that the nice-guy period has expired, and now it's time to start taking action on those who have not yet complied.

At Cabot's Earth Day, Mission Springs Water District and high school students will be doing a water quality demonstration in the afternoon. In the morning the district will be doing outreach at the Groundwater Guardians booth on the subject of the $35 million appropriation.

Director Wright reported on the CVAG Energy & Environment Committee where they talked about the street sweeping program.

General Manager Wallum announced that the district now has a Facebook page. If that link doesn't work for you, just go to Facebook and search for Mission Springs Water District.

Director Bowman requested the meeting to close with a moment of silence for Director Mary Gibson who remains hospitalized.

The June workshop may include discussion on what the district can do to get people who still have septics despite there being a sewer in the street in front of their property to hook up. The ultimate weapon is the abatement warrant, where the district would be permitted to go on private property, do the work, and put a lien on the property. If MSWD needs advice on how to do that, the city's code enforcement team has some good experience, which I'm sure they would willingly share.

Filed under Desert Hot Springs | permalink | April 22, 2010 at 02:27 PM


"I'd like to suggest that rather than our bottled water that usually shows up at events, MSWD install a few taps. Something nice looking. Each one with a sign identifying it as award winning Mission Springs Water."

Put that man in charge!

Posted by: Russ at Apr 22, 2010 4:00:22 PM

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