FMA Water District Advisory Committee

Where Fitch Mountain Water Comes From

1. From where is the water pumped, and who does it?

Since 1989, the Fitch Mountain Water Service Area (FMWS) has been purchasing water from the City of Healdsburg.

Prior to 1989, FMSW pumped its own water from the Del Rio Well. In 1989, the California Department of Health disallowed further use of this well unless it was brought up to state standards. FMWS would either have to dig a deeper well or install a water treatment facility.

Instead, FMWS followed the recommendation of the California Dept. of Health and the California Dept. of Water (now known as California Water Quality Control Board) to enter into a contract with the City of Healdsburg for an intertie.

The contract guarantees water to FMWS in perpetuity. The contractual clauses do, however, allow for rates adjustments.

Water is pumped from the City of Healdsburg’s Sunset tank and then metered into FMWS’s own delivery system through a tie-in on McDonough Heights Road several hundred yards south of the intersection with Madrone, A second Tie-in is located on South Fitch Mt. Road near its intersection with McDonough Heights Road.

The water flows into one of FMWS’s three storage tanks. Each of these tanks has a capacity of 300,000 gallons. There is enough water in these tanks to supply the Fitch Mt. community for up to 1 week to 10 days.

2. Who negotiates water rates from the City of Healdsburg to FMWS?

The Director of Small Districts from the Sonoma County Department of Public Works, and the 4th District Supervisor, represent CSA 41. These rate increases also demand a Prop. 218 hearing. In the future all proposals for rate increases from the City of Healdsburg will coincide with rate adjustments of CSA 41.

The City of Healdsburg has agreed to maintain current water rates for FMWS until 2014 (through the end of our current billing cycle). At that time we can expect potential rate changes for our own system and smaller increases from the City of Healdsburg (for the wholesale water cost).

Fitch Mountain Water Service Area

1. What area is included in the Fitch Mountain Water Service Area

The Fitch Mountain Water Service Areas are Del Rio Woods, Camp Rose, and McDonough Heights The water system serves customers on N. and S. Fitch Mt Road, McDonough Heights, Madrone St. Oak Street, Spring St. Buena Vista, Hilltop Road, Riverview Drive, Redwood Drive, Manzanita Street, Fitch Mt Court, Latimer Road.

water service area map

2. How many people are in FMWS?

FMWS has 327 customers. Its customer base stands at 358.8 Equivalent Single Family Dwellings (E.S.D.=duplexes on same property.)

3. Are new connections allowed to the system?

Fitch Mountain has limited building permits due to regulations established by Sonoma County Permits and Resources Dept. If a permit is obtained, new water connections fees are $3,767.71 (CPI adjusted annually).

There is no expectation for major growth of the system.

4. Who manages the FMWS delivery system? How is it physically maintained?

Since 1989, the system has been managed by a contract with Russian River Utility (RRU). RRU is responsible for all general maintenance, repairs, leak detection, water quality testing, reporting and meter reading. In the future (March 2013) RRU will handle the customer billing and all customer contact calls.

5. Who is responsible for leaks?

RRU is responsible for leaks within lines brought to your meter. Customers are responsible for any leak on the lines originating from the meter to your home. You are encouraged to test for leaks by turning off all appliances and water sources. After doing that check your meter and see if the meter is still running. A moving meter indicates that there is a leak on “your side” of the meter. Part time residents are encouraged to place a shut off valve on your side of the lines. System leakage falls within the acceptable EPA standards, from 10-12%.

If there is a broken line and repair is done promptly, the current policy on bill adjustments on leaks is to reduce the water charges to the first tier, No allowance is granted for subsequent leaks.

6. What input does FMA or individual customers have regarding operations of the district?

Supervisor Mike McGuire initiated an AD HOC Advisory Committee (2012) for communications with county staff regarding FMWS . The committee meets quarterly with the supervisor and public works staff.

News regarding the water system is included in the Fitch Mountain Residents Association Newsletter.

You are notified of pending rate changes through Prop. 218 hearings. General questions can be directed to any of the committee members by phone or email. Questions regarding bills or service problems at the numbers listed above. Committee members are on another handout.

Links to More Information