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Santa Cruz County History - Community Services
Introduction to the San Lorenzo Valley Water District
[Excerpted from: Annual Report, San Lorenzo Valley Water District. 1984-85, pp. 1-2.]
The San Lorenzo Valley Water District (originally the San Lorenzo Valley County Water District) was formed by a special election of the residents of Santa Cruz County on April 3rd, 1941. At that time the boundaries were established for the District to include 58 square miles of the San Lorenzo Valley nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains (Santa Cruz County).
By 1962, the District had a total of 390 customers in the Larita Oaks, Larita Pines, Larita Woods, Ben Lomond Redwood Park and Zayante areas. In September, 1962, the District acquired the Pasatiempo Pines Subdivision consisting of 235 lots located just off of Graham Hill Road between Felton and Santa Cruz, which subsequently brought about several additional subdivisions in the area.
The main expansion of the District took place on December 1st, 1965, with the takeover of a private water system in the northern portion of the San Lorenzo Valley. The voters in the District passed two revenue bond elections to purchase the Citizen's Utilities Company of California facilities within the District boundaries at a cost of $2,700,00. With this acquisition, the District's sources of water supply were augmented by stream flows.
In 1972, the HUD Project inter-connected the southern and northern portion of the northern District boundaries with 10 inch diameter and 12 inch diameter mains, allowing water from Loch Lomond and District wells in the Quail Hollow areas to be pumped to north Boulder Creek as a supplement to the local streams.
On August 30th, 1976, a section of the District north of Boulder Creek on Highway 236 voted for deannexation, thereby forming Big Basin Water Company, encompassing approximately three square miles at and around the Big Basin Golf Course.
In the fiscal year 1979-80, the Board of Directors adopted Resolution Number 42 which changed the Name of the District from The San Lorenzo Valley County Water District to the San Lorenzo Valley Water District.
On December 24th, 1984, the California State Health Department contacted the District with a request that the District consider acquisition of the Big Basin Water Company with funding from Proposition 28 and upgrade the system to alleviate the continued water quality problems that were being experienced by the District.
In January of 1985, District officials met with Big Basin Water Company owners and customers on the subject of annexation into the District. A poll of the customers revealed that a takeover by the customers would be attempted rather than annexation into the District.
The District's system was greatly affected by the disasters of 1982 and 1983, (back to back Federally declared disasters) due to storms dumping tremendous amounts of rainfall resulting in more than twice the annual rainfall in the area. Reconstruction of the damaged facilities began in 1982 and is still under way.
Due to the mountainous terrain and inaccessibility of the District's intake structures and transmission lines in the watershed areas, District staff undertook a project incorporating the California Conservation Corps, local contractors, prison labor and District personnel to reestablish the destroyed facilities. Helicopter transport companies were utilized to airlift in material, supplies, equipment and tools for the use of personnel who hiked into the project areas. The California Conservation Corps personnel was used to place pipe, remove material, cut trails and a bench for the new pipeline to be constructed on, through an area totally unaccessible by vehicular traffic. Prison labor was used to burn slash and downed timber in the watershed areas. Local contractors were recruited to reopen roads and access trails closed by flooding and landslides.
The result of the cooperative efforts was the reestablishment of the surface water sources for use by the District and replacement of over 14,600 feet of transmission mains.
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