Rancho Water approves professional services agreements, contracts

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Rancho California Water District held an Engineering and Operations Committee meeting Thursday, July 30, via teleconference and started the meeting off with a report regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and its relation to the water district.

According to a staff report, the district offered coronavirus testing to staff and their families, performing more than 50 tests in the week before.

There were questions from staff about when employees might be allowed to return to the district offices.

They said the COVID-19 infection rate data was “turning the right way,” but he wasn’t sure when employees would return.

“Obviously we don’t want to bring just everybody back at once,” Armstrong said. “We’ve seen this happen with other agencies. It would most likely start off with leadership because we do need that in the workplace in order to maintain and control probably the measures that we have in place. And also, it’s an intangible value, bringing in leadership into the workplace.

“I would say that maybe we would start bringing people back, maybe as volunteers, people that want to work from that space, and just kind of monitor, just slowly ramp that up over time,” he said.

The committee unanimously approved the district’s staff request to award an agreement for professional services with Hazen and Sawyer for $276,830, for the district’s pump station asset management program.

Assistant General Manager of Engineering & Operations, Eva Plajzer, presented the committee with a report from staff requesting the consideration of approving a sole-source agreement for professional services with Geoscience Support Services Inc. for an update and enhancement of the district’s Cooperative Water Resource Management Agreement Groundwater Model.

Geoscience Support Services will collect and compile updated geohydrologic data; update the existing three-dimensional lithologic model; update, refine and recalibrate the model; update the existing upper VDC Focused Model; prepare draft and final model addendum reports; attend project management and meetings and develop GIS site suitability analysis model development.

The $193,792 contract was approved unanimously by the three-person committee.

The committee also considered a request by Southern California Edison for a grant of easement and associated quitclaim of an existing easement at Vail Lake, which staff suggested an approval on.

The item pertained to an approved grant of easement with SCE and the district to install a new electrical service providing power to Rancho Water’s Vail Dam. SCE constructed the improvements starting in mid-2019, but during construction, unforeseen utility conflicts were discovered in the underground portion of the alignment that traverses the existing Lower Merlot campground area at Vail Lake and adjustments were made.

However, SCE requires the easement to be amended based on the actual constructed location of the facilities.

The item was approved unanimously by the committee.

The committee also heard project reports and operation reports from June and July.

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at jpack@reedermedia.com.