With a name like “Three Rivers,” it doesn’t seem like water, or lack thereof, would ever be a problem. But California has some of the most complex water system laws in the nation along with the strictest water consumption and compliance standards, and small Three Rivers water companies, which serve the various “subdivisions” of the community, have been scrambling to keep pace with the regulations and ever-increasing costs of providing water for residential use and fire safety.
Last month, local well-drilling contractor Kaweah Pump performed routine inspection work on Well No. 2 of the South Kaweah Mutual Water Company’s (SKMWC) water system, which supplies 154 homes in the Cherokee Oaks neighborhood. The 419-feet-deep well (No. 2) is one of three tied into the SKMWC’s system, which services a major portion of Cherokee Oaks.
According to Sherry Elkington, who has been a board member since 2004 and is the water company’s current secretary-treasurer, No. 2 is the system’s best producer and most sustainable source of quality domestic water.
After an analysis of the videotaped inspection of the casing of the well was completed and once regulators returned the required water testing results, it was determined no repairs were needed. Well No. 2 was placed back in service on Wednesday, Jan. 23, a week after it was taken offline, and none of the connections experienced any service interruptions.
In the interim week of downtime, Well No. 3 supplied the South Kaweah Mutual Water Company members with water. During this time, users were asked to refrain from watering lawns and gardens, which is an acceptable request in January but might receive some pushback in August.
Typically, wintertime is the optimal time to do these inspections, Elkington said, because water use overall is lower.
SKMWC, founded in 1962, is the largest of three water companies that supply water service connections to the homes in the Cherokee Oaks subdivision.
The Three Rivers Community Services District is organizing a water workshop for the area’s mutual water companies, of which there are eight that are active serving local neighborhoods. The workshop is scheduled for Monday, March 4, at St. Anthony Retreat; space is limited.
Anyone who receives water from a local water company is definitely aware of where their water is coming from. All other properties in Three Rivers are on a private well system, which is not (yet) monitored by the State of California.
For more information on upcoming workshops or any water or septic-related issues, call Cindy Howell, general manager of the local CSD, at 561-3480.
Three Rivers water companies
California consists of thousands of small water utility companies that provide more than 75 percent of the potable water to California residents. Here are the water companies serving Three Rivers homes and businesses:
South Kaweah (Cherokee Oaks subdivision)
Deer Meadow (Cherokee Oaks subdivision)
River Retreat (Cherokee Oaks subdivision)
Sierra King (Mineral King Road subdivision)
South Fork Estates (lower South Fork Drive subdivision)
Improvement District No. 1 (Alta Acres subdivision)
Kaweah Mutual (Kaweah River Drive)
East Fork (Mineral King Road subdivision)
Anthony Ferranti contributed to this article.