Santa Cruz County History - Community Services

History of the Central Water District

[Excerpted from: Annual Report, Central Water District, 1988-89, unpaged.]

In 1949, local residents began meeting at Pleasant Valley School to discuss the dire shortage of potable water in the area. They organized a committee, headed by Lester Morrison, to sponsor the formation of a county water district to be called Central Santa Cruz County Water District.

In November of 1950, voters adopted a proposition to organize the District and the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution declaring the District duly formed. Boundaries of the new District were contiguous with the Oakdale and Pleasant Valley School Districts.

The five members of the first Board of Directors were Roy R. Day, Harry M. Gregg, John Karchesz, Lester Morrison and Ed Wennerholm. Board meetings were originally held at Pleasant Valley School, then at a cabin on the premises of Harry Gregg. Finally, the regular meeting place was changed to the pumphouse on Cox Road, the present site of the District office.

In August of 1951, voters authorized the sale of general obligation bonds for construction of a well, storage and distribution facilities. Bonds in the amount of $140,000 were issued July 1, 1953, to be paid off through 1990.

Meanwhile, in April of 1953, Central Santa Cruz County Water District entered into an agreement to lease, for $25 per month, the Valencia Water Works from Jesse and Fern Nicholson, with an option to purchase the facilities and assets. In September of 1953, after the availability of an adequate water supply had been determined, the Valencia Water Works was purchased by the District for $1,500.

In its annual report of 1952, Valencia Waters Works numbered its customers at 24. By December, 1953, Central Santa Cruz County Water District was serving 80 customers.

In early 1978 the District entered into an agreement with Soquel Creek County Water District providing for an intertie connection on Huntington Drive for use of either district in an emergency.

In July of 1978, the District applied for a loan and grant under the California Safe Drinking Water Bond Law of 1976, for facility improvements. The application contained a project cost of $1,385,520, which was reduced, in March of 1979, to $1,123,520; of this amount, $156,000 was the District's share. Completed improvements included the construction of Well #10, the Valencia Booster Pump Station, a telemetering system, and approximately 24,560 feet of mainline piping. Construction commenced in 1978, and in November of 1982 the remaining portion of the loan and the uncompleted portion of the original project were canceled. In all, the District borrowed $653,806.03 in State funds, including $19,042.89 in administrative fees.

On December 10, 1980, the name of the District was shortened to the Central Water District.

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