The District’s “Mission State” is to provide its service area with the highest quality and reliable supplies of water at the lowest possible rate. Provide the best service; manage its infrastructure to meet present and future needs. Strive to minimize economic impact to its water customers.
WHAT WE DO
Pico Water District established in 1926 has been operating for over eighty years and has seen a great many changes. When meters were first installed they were what is know as “direct manual read meters”, this meant that our field staff had to go to each and every meter and read the meter. However in 2008 the District began a meter replacement program to replace our manually read meters to a new more advanced technology that allowed staff to read the meters remotely. The new technology is called Automatic Meter Reading System (AMR). AMR meters have the ability to store water usage data internally in the meter and through the use of radio waves can then transfer that data to a high powered laptop used by field staff. This information is then provided to the billing staff to create the water bill. AMR technology is a more efficient use of field staff’s time in reading meters, is more accurate and cost effective for our customers. However, due to the high cost of the AMR meters the District is spreading the cost of converting all manual read meters with AMR meters over a number of years.
Water System Improvements
The District established in 1926, the Board of Directors recognizes that it must replace its aging pipelines and ground water wells. The District is committed to replacing all pipelines that are four-inch diameter and smaller with eight-inch diameter mains or larger for improved flow and fire protection. The District utilizes its 2008 Water System Master Plan to prioritize capital improvement projects, as well as takes advantage of combining projects with developer funded projects to help defray some of the construction costs.
The District continually evaluates its project priorities to utilize any available cost savings. Typical methods include: competitive bids on construction projects; utilize new technology or construction methods.
Water System Maintenance
Repairing mainline breaks and leaks. Leaks can occur at any time, therefore to protect the health and safety of the District’s customers and general public staff works hard to respond to all emergency calls within 30 minutes. In most cases when there is a leak or mainline break staff attempts to make all repairs without turning off the water and disrupting water service to our customers. However, if turning off the water is the only way the break can be repaired, then staff will go door to door to inform the customers in the general area of the leak that they have a short period of time to collect and save whatever water they can before the water is turned off.
Flushing is a common practice for improving water quality in a local area or at the end of a street where the water does not circulate back into the main system. This activity involves opening a fire hydrant or blow-off at the end of the line and flushing all the water in the line out or until the water quality becomes clear.
Isolating valves are installed on the main lines and used to turn off water or slow the flow of water down when necessary. However, because these valves are constantly in contact with water and water hardness, these isolating can become difficult to turn if not used or exercised every few years. District staff is working hard to see that all valves are exercised at least once ever two years, and document valves that need to be replaced.
Fire Hydrant Exercising
Fire hydrants are a critical tool in controlling property damage to our customers. Fire hydrants are usually exercised along with the District’s valve exercising program. This exercise/test data is also recorded and compared to previous records. If necessary, replacement or repairs are scheduled.
Cross Connection Control Program
To protect public health, the District is required to operate a cross connection program. This program protects the integrity of the District’s water system from other water supply sources with unknown water quality. The goal of this program is to either eliminate the cross-connection or to control it through the installation and maintenance of an approved backflow prevention assembly. Typical examples of potential cross connections include: landscape irrigation; fire sprinkler services, health care facilities, manufacturing facilities and recycled water users. The customer has the responsibility of preventing pollutants and contaminants from entering the District’s water systems. This responsibility starts at the point where water exits the water meter. At the customer's own expense, they shall install, operate, test, and maintain any required backflow prevention assembly as directed by the District. As required by regulation, all backflow prevention assemblies are required to be tested annually. This test must be completed by an approved and certified Backflow Tester.
Water System Sampling
The District is required to take a minimum number of samples of the water system throughout the year. These samples include weekly bacteriological samples of the distribution system, and weekly, monthly and quarterly sampling of the wells. Sampling of the water system helps to ensure the safety of our drinking water.