The Fallbrook Public Utility District will be purchasing equipment which will improve the ability to determine runoff into Lake Skinner to which FPUD is entitled.
A 4-0 FPUD board vote Oct. 22, with Archie McPhee not present due to illness, approved the purchase of six American Sigma 950AVB systems from Ponton Industries of Yorba Linda for $42,360.17. The system includes flow meters with rain gauges, cables, and accessories.
“It’s to better quantify the amount of water that’s running into Lake Skinner for which we have water rights,” said FPUD engineering and planning manager Jack Bebee. “The more accurate that measure is, the more of our water we get.”
FPUD holds a water rights permit which allows for storage of up to 10,000 acre-feet of local runoff in Lake Skinner. That water is treated and delivered to FPUD at a current cost of $561 per acre-foot, which is considerably lower than the San Diego County Water Authority treated rate of $1,070 per acre-foot which will be in effect for Calendar Year 2013.
The current estimates of runoff into Lake Skinner are determined by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California staff who visually evaluate the flow at three culverts in the watershed. That method likely underestimates the runoff and lowers the delivery amount FPUD can receive. During 2007-08, which was considered a wet year for the Santa Margarita Watershed, FPUD received only 31 acre-feet.
In November 2009, the FPUD board approved a contract with Tetra Tech to develop a modeling approach for quantifying inflow into Lake Skinner. The results indicated that additional field data was needed to improve the accuracy of the model before it could be used instead of the visual evaluation. FPUD staff met with MWD staff to develop an approach to increase the accuracy, and the two water agencies reached an agreement that if FPUD purchased the equipment MWD would install and monitor it. FPUD issued a request for proposals, and Ponton Industries had the lowest bid.