Liberty Utilities A.V. Kicks Off 2016 Conservation Program

Liberty Utilities – Apple Valley, formerly Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company, kicked off its 2016 water conservation program with a distribution of 350 free high-efficiency toilets to customers at Granite Hills High School (GHHS) in Apple Valley.

Students and faculty of the GHHS SCADA Academy volunteered their time to assist with the conservation event.

The school’s SCADA Academy partners with Liberty Utilities – Apple Valley and several other local sponsors to connect participating students with local industry and introduce them to the design of electromechanical control systems.

SCADA, an acronym for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, refers to systems used to remotely monitor and control utility operations and industrial processes.

The HE toilets that were distributed were .8 gallon per flush, which is half of the federal standard of 1.6 gallons per flush. Since 2011, Liberty Utilities – Apple Valley has provided nearly 2,000 toilets to Apple Valley residents and businesses.

In addition to the high-efficiency toilet give-away to customers, Liberty Utilities – Apple Valley’s 2016 conservation program continues to offer a variety of information and tools to assist customers in saving water. Low-flow shower heads, kitchen and bathroom faucet aerators and hose spray nozzles are all available to Liberty customers at no cost, along with water audits to help identify ways to save water outdoors.

The Liberty conservation team will continue to assist customers who wish to participate in the MWA Cash for Grass program. To take advantage of these resources, Liberty Utility – Apple Valley customers should contact Liberty’s conservation team at 760-247-6484.

Apple Valley Ranchos Invests $8 Million in Water System

Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company’s improvements in the water system in 2015 totaled more than $8 million, and $8 million more is planned for water infrastructure projects in 2016. The 2016 water infrastructure projects start this month.

“Much of the Ranchos system of pipes were installed in the 1950s and 1960s and need to be replaced to ensure the ongoing reliability of water service for our customers,” said Carol Thomas-Keefer, Ranchos’ Superintendent of Operations. “We are committed to the long-term reliability of this water system.”

Approximately $4.5 million of 2015’s water infrastructure investment was focused on replacement and upgrades to water pipes throughout Ranchos’ 50-square mile service area.

Sections replaced included portions of pipe along Nanticoke Road, Seneca Road and Rincon Road, as well as throughout the Desert Knolls area of Apple Valley. More than 6 miles of aging and leak-prone steel pipes were replaced with durable poly vinyl chloride (PVC) pipe for smaller pipes, and high-quality ductile iron pipe for larger transmission mains.

Ranchos’ water pipe replacement program identifies and prioritizes pipes based on significant leak history, and each year targets the highest priority areas for replacement. Water pipe upgrades enable Ranchos to move water more efficiently, reduce pumping costs, and improve fire protection capabilities.

“We are minimizing leaks and repairs, and moving water more efficiently, that helps lower our operating costs,” said Thomas-Keefer. “As we undertake projects, we routinely use local service providers for design, construction, and installation.”

Other 2015 investments included the installation of new fire hydrants for enhanced fire protection and drilling of a new 3,500-gallon per minute well on Apple Valley Road to provide additional capacity for the service area. The buildings and related equipment for the new well will be constructed in 2016 for a total project cost of $2.2 million.

In addition to completing the new well in 2016, several other main replacement projects are slated for 2106. These include the installation of about 3,500 feet of ductile iron pipe along Mandan Road, as well as the next phases of the Rincon Road project. The Rincon Road project involves the replacement of one mile of aging steel pipe with a 20” transmission line, and the installation of 2,700 feet of new 16” pipe along Kiowa Road north of Del Oro Road.

Conserving Water in the Mojave Desert Climate

The Mojave Water Agency held a workshop on capturing rain water in the desert for later use or to help re-charge the local aquifer. The presentation was part of the ABCs of Water series.

Rainwater run-off from a 1500 sq.ft. roof can quickly fill up a rainbarrel during a rainstorm. This can be used later on to water landscaping such as bushes and trees, or for garden plants like vegetables, and more.

Harvesting storm water in rain barrels, or diverting it into a swale, are ways of managing it more productively than just allowing run-off. Swales are rock and gravel streambeds that a homeowner or business can create, that helps re-charge water into the underground aquifer.

Many city ordinances now mandate that new office and retail buildings create sunken run-off areas that are specifically constructed to re-charge water into the ground.

Attendees of the workshop learned how to coodinate the use rain gutters with several types of rain barrel systems. Another topic was managing water collecting systems to keep mosquitoes out and discourage breeding (yes, we do now have them here in the desert).

Landscape designs were presented showing attractive rock-scapes and swales with plants that encourage the water to soak into the ground.

The next ABCs of Water will present “Groundwater – Dynamics of Local Water Supply,” on Tuesday, March 22. RSVP is required by calling Gloria at (765) 946-7001, or email:

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We cover county-wide news with more of a “positive” spin than other newspapers. Topics generally include economics, business, real estate, infrastructure, education, entertainment, social concerns and opinions.

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There are many positive, uplifting events going on in our world and our local communities.

We like to point out the good things that businesses, non-profits and individuals are doing to keep our community a great place to be.

Yes, there are some challenges and situations that arise at times, and our local leaders like County Supervisor Robert Lovingood and Congressman Paul Cook work hard to handle these in the right way.

Sometimes there’s what I like to call a “good” fight, such as when big business tries to squash the little guy. That’s why we’ve strived to publish factually accurate information on big solar and wind projects, and smart meters that spew radiation into your home, and were installed without your permission.

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I’ve personally lived here since 1987, moving from the San Francisco Bay Area. People sometimes ask me why I don’t move back there. And, I say “I love it here!” I love the weather, the change of seasons, the beautiful desert skies and sunsets, and the nature and wildlife that we have in our own back yards!

I plan to stay here a good long while, and to keep bringing you this kind of news as long as I can. I’ve been publishing the Senior News for 17 years, and it’s always been free to seniors since we like to light up your faces with a smile when you see photos from an event you attended, or even your own photo!

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