WATER WATCH: Spring brings welcome change

By DON ZDEBA

WATER WATCH: Spring brings welcome changeThe arrival of spring is typically a cause to celebrate change and a new beginning as daylight hours increase, the weather warms, trees bud, flowers blossom and students of all ages look forward to Spring Break.

You may think you know why we have a spring season, and you probably think it has something to do with earth’s position relative to the sun. Did you know, however, that the ancient Greeks attributed spring to Demeter, the grain goddess, refusing to let the earth blossom until her abducted daughter Persephone was released? Zeus finally consented to release Persephone, but because the girl had tasted some of the fruits of Hades —a handful of pomegranate seeds-- — she was forced to forever spend part of the year in the underworld. Her annual return to the earth in spring was marked by her mother’s painting the meadows with flowers and the growth of new grain. Conversely, in winter when Persephone returned to the underworld, growth halted and plants perished.

The arrival of spring has also brought changes to the Indian Wells Valley Water District. We recently completed a substantial upgrade to our Springbrook accounting, billing and financial software. The version we had been using had seen numerous revisions and was very much outdated.

One feature of the update is the ability to run batch reports that previously were compiled manually, resulting in significant time savings. We experienced a few glitches during the conversion and still encounter the occasional hurdle, but Springbrook Support has been working closely with our staff to resolve all issues. We greatly appreciate your patience and understanding during the upgrade process.

With the upgrade, you may have noticed a couple of changes in the format of your bill. Instead of showing only one month’s comparative usage, you now have a graph showing a 12-month period that compares usage each month with that of the previous year. Also the information is now arranged to align with the perforations so you no longer have the frustration of tearing part of your billing information when you remove the payment portion. I hope that you find these to be positive changes.

Our web payment option has continued to grow in popularity. We recently topped 2,000 registered users. This option offers our customers the ability to manage their accounts, opt out of receiving paper bills and make payments using their personal computers or laptops. One popular feature is the ability to review your usage history going back as far as 10 years and comparatively display the data as a graph, a table or both. You may sign up for this option by using the link on our webpage, www.iwvwd.com.

Most of this winter, our maintenance crew has been replacing high density polyethylene service laterals along Inyokern Road, west of China Lake Boulevard, with new copper laterals in advance of the Caltrans paving project. The replacement of the HDPE service laterals is an ongoing project necessitated by a phenomenon that is occurring primarily in warm climates.

Studies have found that the finite supply of antioxidants provided when HDPE pipe is extruded is consumed on the inner pipe surface both by being washed off the surface by the flow of water and by chemical reaction with a continuous supply of oxidant in the form of water disinfectants such as sodium hypochlorite flowing through the pipe.

As the antioxidants migrate to the reaction interface and become depleted, the pipe becomes susceptible to microcracks that eventually cause premature failures in the forms of leaks or breaks. This reaction can accelerate as water temperature increases. Our efforts to address this issue are continuing.

And speaking of maintenance, spring is an excellent time to check your irrigation system before landscape watering increases. If your system uses a timer, make sure that it is set properly both in terms of the time of day you water and also the duration so that you are not overwatering.

Cycle your system and check each zone for leaks and proper adjustment to prevent unnecessary overspray. You should do this regularly because sprinklers can break, get out of adjustment or become partially blocked by small grains of sand.

Please remember that , beginning May 1 and lasting through Oct. 31, Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance No. 93 takes effect. This ordinance states that landscape irrigation can occur only between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m, This restriction promotes effective water use by minimizing loss caused by evaporation. Hand watering and drip systems are the lone exceptions allowed.

If you are considering a new look for your yard, I hope you were able to take advantag of the xeriscape workshop sponsored by the Water District March 16 at the Historic USO Building. The featured speaker was Norm Schilling, an award-winning landscaper from the Las Vegas area. Local vendors set up booths featuring yard art, alternatives to turf and organic seeds. If you were not able to attend, we have publications available in our office and on our website that may provide you with ideas.

We are here to serve you, our customer. If there is anything we can do to assist you, please do not hesitate to stop by our office at 500 W. Ridgecrest Blvd., phone us at 760-375-5086, or e-mail us at iwvwd@iwvwd.com.

Story First Published: 2013-04-03