The board of directors of the Virgin Valley Water District gave approval to its budget for Fiscal Year 2020 which begins July 1.  That budget provides for outlay of $10.25 million in operating expenses, including well construction and system maintenance. VVWD pursues a consistent development plan of future well drilling and system maintenance in serving its 9,000-plus users. Total expenses of $11.5 million are balanced against $9.47million in operating revenue and $3.28 million in non-operating revenue.

The water district is steadily recovering from a severe period of indebtedness. One of its bonds will be paid off by July, so users will see a reduction in the debt service fee on their monthly bill by August.

The budget, as approved, now contains $255,000 in additional funds for purchase of backup pumps to be put in inventory for Wells 31 and 33. The step was taken to provide emergency backup for those wells that are high producers for the VVWD system. Lead time for acquisition of stainless steel pumps can be three to four months. In the last year, a backup pump on hand was put into service, shortening the repair time for a well outage. Management considers the purchases critical in assuring reliable water availability.

The budget was also adjusted to allow for a revised plan for covering standby time required of the VVWD line employees. In the past, line employees were required to be on standby on weekends in case a system leak or other emergency might occur. The employee group discussed possible plans for weekend coverage that would protect the system while relieving workers from months of mandatory standby that interfered with family and personal time.

The plan that was presented assures that three workers are always available, based on volunteer signup. This plan provides fairness to workers at a minimal yearly increased cost of $1,500, and was unanimously endorsed by management and board.

Need for emergency repair coverage was apparent on May 14 when a fire hydrant blew off its connection to the water main on John Deere Drive. The district’s SCADA alarm system notified operators that the Flat Top Mesa tank was losing water at a critical flow. Staff responded at  4:30 a.m. to isolate the problem and stop the flow, which amounted to a loss of about 900,000 gallons of water.

After discussion, a total of $389,000 proposed additions were approved. The directors voted   4-0 in favor of the budget as amended, with director Rich Bowler absent on district business. Full details of the FY2020 budget are available on the VVWD website, www.vvh2o.com.