LOW water woes worsen — ‘We are desperate’ says manager

  • Lake of the Woods Mutual Water Company's notice of water restriction.

    Lake of the Woods Mutual Water Company's notice of water restriction.

By Patric Hedlund

Residents of Lake of the Woods found the “Urgent” notice at right on their doors May 27—now banning all outdoor watering. The notice was not signed or dated, but says outdoor watering must stop “immediately” or fines will be levied.

Lake of the Woods Mutual Water Company manager Diane Gustafson said on May 28 in a 6:30 a.m. phone call that only two of the LOW system’s five wells are producing.

“We are desperate. There is no guarantee that there is more water deeper,” Gustafson said, adding, “we had a bid from [a driller] from Mojave for $30,000, but now he’s on another job and can’t do it and we’re trying to find someone else.” A local driller “has taken a job with a cement company and was no longer available,” she added.
Gustafson said the drought has put drillers in great demand everywhere in California, so obtaining service is difficult.

The LOW system’s tanks are typically at 20 feet, but had fallen to six feet “when a well went dry,” Gustafson said in April, adding then that the water company needs to ‘drill deeper’ in one of its wells.

On May 7 Robert Stowell, the LOW water company board president, said that the “odd-even” water conservation plan put in place April 20 (limiting outside watering for LOW residents to alternate days) had helped bring reserve tank levels back up to about 12 feet.

On Tuesday morning the longtime manager said that water levels in the system’s three tanks have dropped back down to six feet, despite the ‘odd-even” conservation plan.

Gustafson added that the Cuddy Hall property is where the additional drilling is planned, and that other potential sites are also being considered.

“But that takes time,” she said, mentioning that the California Department of Health is also encouraging drilling deeper at the Cuddy Hall well.

There are no household meters in the LOW system. Residents are billed with a fairly low flat monthly rate. Even in this drought year, neighbors say they see water being wasted, “running down the street.”

There will be a meeting of the water board on Thursday, June 6 at 7 p.m. at Cuddy Hall.
Meanwhile, “we have to conserve,” Gustafson said. “We have to work with what we have.”

This is part of the May 31, 2013 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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