CCWD: 80 Years of Growth & Service

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Providing Essential Services
for Eight Decades


The quest for reliable, high-quality water is the reason the Contra Costa Water District was formed 80 years ago in 1936.

That drive shapes nearly every aspect of the District's remarkable history.

Though the District was first organized in 1936, it wasn't until 1940 that CCWD delivered its first water to the city of Pittsburg, and 1961 when it delivered drinking water. 

Today, CCWD serves 500,000 people within an area that stretches from Martinez to Antioch.  The District has four pumping plants (all with screens that protect fish in the Delta), owns and operates the largest reservoir in the Bay Area, serves treated and untreated water, and employs 290 people. It's the only water district that depends solely on the Delta for its water supply. 

Here are some numbers about the Water District and its history.

1

Megawatt, the amount of power the small hydroelectric plant at the Antioch Service Center produce.  

5

  The number of  General Managers that have served through the 80 years.
10   The number of Board Presidents.

41

  The number of treated water storage reservoirs in the District.

48

The length in miles of the Contra Costa Canal.

75 

 Million gallons of water per day produced by the Bollman Water Treatment Plant at its peak capacity.

61,085

 The number of connections the District had in 2014.  

171,270

 The number of acre-feet of untreated water the District can store in its four untreated water reservoirs (Martinez, Contra Loma, Mallard and Los Vaqueros) combined. 


Size of the District's Service Area -- in acres -- through the years:


1941 -  47,645
1952 -  86,000
1960 - 108,000 
1966 - 109,000
1997 - 132,022 
2014 - 137,127


See more about the history of the Contra Costa Water District here: 








  



 






This-Day-in-CCWD-History
We've chronicled more than 90 significant events in the Water District's history. 

January

January 4, 2008: The District’s new Emergency Operations Center is activated officially for the first time.  A series of wet storms brought high winds and many power outages throughout the District and the center kept tabs of electrical issues at pumping plants and fallen trees in the canal. The center was deactivated on Jan.7 after the storms passed.

January 19, 1978: Due to heavy rain, CCCWD Board rescinds its “Formal Emergency” restrictions on water use due to the 1977 drought. At that time 1977 was the most severe drought in California history

January 19, 1961: CCCWD sells $12 million in bonds at 3.97 percent for purchase of California Water Service Co. The later purchase of California Water would put CCWD into the water treatment and delivery business.

January 21, 1971: CCCWD Board holds its last meeting at its main office at 2020 Railroad Ave. in Pittsburg before moving to District Center in Concord.  The District’s Board had met in Pittsburg for the previous 12 years.  Prior to its Pittsburg location, CCCWD’s offices had been in Antioch.
 
January 24, 2015: 
 
Fernando Gonzalez of San Leandro sets the trout record at Los Vaqueros with a 16.42 pound catch, the largest trout caught at LV by 2.7 pounds.  

February

February 17, 1961: 
CCCWD formally acquires California Water Services Co. Central Contra Costa operations for $12 million, putting the District in the treated water business. The District gains approximately 23,000 water meters and will eventually overhaul the entire infrastructure of the water operations it purchased.  

February 17, 1971: District Center is dedicated in the memory of Thomas Carlson, the attorney responsible for forming CCCWD. The project cost $1.5 million and is financed entirely by the sale of surplus Water District property. 

February 17, 2016: 
President Joseph L. Campbell presides over his last CCWD Board of Directors' meeting. Campbell served 24 years on the District's board and never missed a single meeting before resigning from the board. He was President during most of his term.  

February 28, 2010: Harry Stoner of Stockton sets the king salmon record at Los Vaqueros with a 6.2 pound catch. Salmon don't breed at Los Vaqueros and salmon haven't been stocked in more than four years at the reservoir. It's unlikely this record will be broken any time soon.

February 29, 2008:  The District announces it will build its first solar power system at the Ygnacio Pump Station near Heather Farms.  The 45-kilowatt power station will generate about 30 percent of the electrical power used at the pump station


March

March 1, 1965:  A $14.5 million bond election is held to finance the construction of what would eventually be the Bollman Water Treatment Plant and other infrastructure improvements. The measure passes with 77 percent of the vote.   

March 2, 2004: CCWD service area voters approve an advisory measure (Measure N) that authorized the Los Vaqueros Expansion project to move forward. The measure won approval of 62 percent of voters. “Our ratepayers sent a clear message that they want the Board to examine ways to improve drought supplies, drinking water quality, and the Delta Environment,” said President Joseph L. Campbell. 

March 8, 1973: CCWD’s first woman Director, Mrs. Diane Weidner, submits her resignation from the Board.  She was on the board for five years. She and her husband had business interests in California and Hawaii and she no longer had the time to serve on the board. She was first appointed to the board in 1968 and represented Pleasant Hill.

March 10 1977:  A severe drought prompts the District’s Board to declare a “formal emergency” restricting all households to an average of less than 315 gallons per day. Customers who did not use their full allotment could “bank” the water they did not use for future use.   

March 12, 2001: CCWD Director Bette Boatmun is named “Woman of the Year’ for the 11th Assembly District.

March 13, 2000: CCWD starts its first season of programs at the recently-opened watershed. The first season of five programs included a “Challenging Seven-Mile Hike,” and a “Talk on Contra Costa Area History.“ The Marina and fishing openings are still about 15 months away.

March 17, 2006:  5,000 pounds of trout are planted at Los Vaqueros, the largest single fish plant at LV at the time and one of the largest in the Bay Area. 

March 21, 2011: CCWD hosts representatives from Belize Water Services in a program funded by the Inter-American Development Bank and the United Nations to support international cooperation for the improvement of safe and reliable urban drinking water services world-wide. CCWD is the first United States water utility to participate in this program.

March 22, 1938:  Voters approve a change in District’s Board, now each director represents a different division within the District and is elected by voters within each District.

March 31, 2010:  The Final EIS/EIR for the expansion of Los Vaqueros Reservoir is approved by the CCWD Board of Directors. The legal challenge period ended with no legal complaints filed.

April

April 5, 1973: Stephen L .Weir is appointed to replace Diane Weidner. He is 24-years-old, the youngest person to ever serve on the Board and is a member of the Sierra Club.

April 16, 1996: A ribbon-cutting ceremony is held for the completion of Vasco Road as part of the Los Vaqueros project. The District built 12.8 miles of Vasco Road to replace the road that would be inundated by the new reservoir.

April 17, 2009: Danville fisherman Todd Brusco lands a 45.2 pound striped bass at Los Vaqueros, the largest fish caught at the reservoir by 16 pounds. Todd is the only person to hold two records at LV, he also brought in the largest largemouth bass.

April 20, 2013 After it was moved and rebuilt because of expansion of the Los Vaqueros Reservoir, the Marina and its new dock is officially reopened with some programs, fishing clinics, derby, hikes and more activities.

April 21, 2003: The 23,000 square foot New Administration Building (Bisso Building) is open. In all, 1,400 boxes had to be moved from the old leased Stanwell Building to the new building. Planning, Engineering and Construction employees are among those working in the new building.

April 25, 1962:  CCCWD employees participate in an educational program designed to encourage them to use seat belts in their private cars. 

April 26, 2008: First LV Dam Trials are held at the Los Vaqueros Watershed. The three-mile timed sprint to the top of the dam is the first organized bicycle event held at the watershed.

May 


May 2, 1998: Dedication of Los Vaqueros Reservoir draws more than 2,000 people to the watershed for the ceremony, the largest one-day crowd at the watershed.  The Antioch Ledger Dispatch states the reservoir is a “truly remarkable achievement…the water district was able to succeed in building a new reservoir at a time when others failed because of its commitment to environmental protection.” 

May 3, 1968: Bollman Water Treatment Plant produces first treated water.

May 5, 1936: The District's formation is approved by voters today (8,932-1,068). The vote culminated more than 10 years of work by an ag & industry association that originally planned to dam the Delta near Benicia to keep salt water out.

May 8, 1965: 
 Fluoridation begins within the District.
 

May 9, 1936: The District is incorporated by the State of California. See the original document. 

May 10, 2008:  The first Wildflower Run 10K is held at the Los Vaqueros watershed, starting near the Marina. 

May 13, 1966 CCCWD breaks ground on $6 million water treatment plant.  Board President Ralph D. Bollman turns the first spade of dirt at the plant that would eventually be named for him.  The plant would begin operating two years later.

May 15, 1968:  District publishes its very first "Master Plan for Water Supply."

May 15, 2017: Los Vaqueros Reservoir pumps are turned off, with the reservoir now storing the most water in its history, It was thought it was at 96 percent capacity.

May 16, 1968: 
Craig Z Randall is elected President of the Board of Directors, succeeding Paul C. Tuft who resigned from the Board because of a move to Michigan.  Randall would serve as president for the next 18 years. 

May 23, 1942: 
 Work on the Contra Costa Canal ceases because of WW II with about 38 miles of work completed.

May 25, 2002: 
 The $3 million Contra Loma Swim Lagoon opens to the public. The sand bottom lagoon is separate from the reservoir and is operated by the East Bay Regional Park District.This allows swimming to continue at the park, but without contaminating the reservoir.

May 29, 2003: Last section of the Multi-Purpose Pipeline Project is laid into place near the Randall-Bold Water Treatment Plant. The pipeline is 21-miles long.  Board President Joseph L. Campbell says the project: “is another example of how the District fulfills its commitment to the public.”

May 29, 2008: Todd Brusco of Danville sets the largemouth bass record with a 12-pound catch. This is his first of his two fishing records at Los Vaqueros.

June

June 1, 1973:  Ralph D. Bollman Water Treatment Plant named a “Place of Beauty”  by the Concord Chamber of Commerce, one of four buildings in Concord to receive the award.

June 2, 1964: The Water District asks voters before it started fluoridating water, winning the election 15,748 to 14,702.  It was the first successful fluoridation vote in California in eight years, a similar measure was defeated in EBMUD. Interestingly, the movie “Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”  in which Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper's belief that fluoridation of the American water supply is a Soviet plot to poison the U.S. sets off a series of events that leads to the nuclear destruction of the world, premiered in January.

June 5, 1968: Mrs. Diane Weidner is appointed to the Board of Directors, replacing Paul C. Tuft who resigned as President of the Board. She is the first woman on the board and had served previously with the Citizens Advisory Committee, which oversaw the Treated Water Division of the District.

June 6, 1989: The Boards of the Contra Costa Water District and the Oakley Water District (Now the Diablo Water District) sign a contract to build a water treatment plant in Oakley, the Randall-Bold Water Treatment Plant, making deliveries to customers in both water districts. The plant is named after former CCWD Board President Craig Z Randall and Frederick Bold, who served as an attorney for both water districts who was a state recognized water law expert.  

June 26: 2000:  Fish are planted at Los Vaqueros Reservoir for the first time. More than 2,500 pounds of trout are planted over three days. The reservoir wouldn’t officially open for fishing more than a year later. 

June 30, 2000:  More than a year before the watershed is opened for fishing, CCWD opens all of its 55 miles of trails at the Los Vaqueros Watershed to hikers.

June 30, 2015: CCWD's redesigned website -- 
www.ccwater.com -- debuts, replacing a design that is more than seven years old. The new site is "scalable" to pads and smartphones, and has many new features that make it easier to upload vital information in the event of a disaster.  

July

July 1, 1972: CCCWD takes over operational and maintenance responsibilities for the Contra Costa Canal from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The move was expected to save CCCWD $100,000 a year.

July 5, 1962: 
 Groundbreaking ceremonies are held for the first new treated water reservoir built by the Contra Costa Water District. The two-million gallon reservoir is built on Clayton Road near Bailey Road in Clayton.  

July 8, 1940: The Bureau of Reclamation pumps water into the first 20 miles of the Contra Costa Canal.

July 12, 1982:  CCWD’s first Board President, Ralph D. Bollman, dies. He was president for 32 years, from 1936 to 1967

July 13, 2012: 
Expanded Los Vaqueros Dam is dedicated with capacity moving up from 100,000 acre-feet to 160,000 acre-feet. Watershed reopens after being closed for more than a year.

July 13, 2017: 5,000 fish, bluegill and largemouth bass, are planted at Los Vaqueros Reservoir. In terms of number of fish, it’s one of the largest plants at LV.

July 15, 1975:  The District awarded a contract to the Hewlett Packard Company for an HP-3000 computer system “for faster response to customer inquiries.”

July 16, 2014:  Director Bette Boatmun celebrates her 40th anniversary as a member of the Board of Directors. The conservation garden in front of District Center was named after her.  She is the longest serving board member in CCWD history.  

July 17, 1936:
 The first election of the CCWD Board of directors has nine candidates.  The five elected are: Concord  dairyman Ralph.D . Bollman; Clayton Valley rancher O.N. Christranson;  Pittsburg industrialist J.E, Taylor; Oakley Rancher A. Crafton and J.E. Holmblad, a Martinez painter. Bollman would remain on the Board for 32 years, all of them as president, serving 17 terms. 

July 18, 1962:  The Contra Costa County Water District Water District Board approves its 1963 budget of $880,931, an increase of $63,500 over the previous year.  The increase was attributed to added personnel and additional operational expenses.

July 20, 2010: The District’s fourth intake – the Middle River Intake – is dedicated.  It is located on Victoria Island, east of Discovery Bay

July 25, 1962:  The District installs a new telemetering system is installed at the Gallendo Pumping station that allows the District to track 10 pumps in Concord and Walnut Creek.

July 31, 1974 Bette Boatmun is appointed to CCCWD Board, replacing Sal N. Siino who resigned.  She would become the longest serving board member, and was president of the board for two years from 1989 to 1991.  

 August

August 11, 2003: Treated water is delivered for the first time from the Randall-Bold Water Treatment plant to the District’s distribution system through the 21-mile Multi-Purpose Pipeline Project.  “We now have a second source of water that we never had before,” said Water Operations Manager Dave Huey.

August 18, 1940: The Contra Costa Canal’s first water delivery is to the City of Pittsburg.  The city is the first customer of CCWD ‘raw’ water.  A giant three-day “Water Fiesta” in Pittsburg includes numerous parades, queen contest, nightly dances and fireworks, motorcycle races and a soap box derby race.  A new composition, “The Aquatic March”, is written for the occasion and played by Pittsburg Municipal Band.

August 21, 1951:
  CCCWD voters approve US Bureau of Reclamation contract of 86,000 acre-feet of water per year. 

August 21, 1975: Board of Directors adopts an Affirmative Action Program for District employees.

August 22, 2011: Seven-Year-Old Alec Michaels of Livermore catches a record 30.31 pound catfish at Los Vaqueros. He’s the youngest person to set a fishing record at LV.  He still fishes regularly at the reservoir. 

August 23, 2001:  CCWD employees organize their first “Kids & Career Day” at the Los Vaqueros Interpretive Center. About 30 children of employees participate.

August 24, 1936:  The first meeting of the Board of Directors of the Contra Costa County Water District is held in Antioch starting at 8 p.m.  In its first action, Ralph Bollman is elected president of the Board, a position he would hold for the next 32 years.  The board also approves it first ordinance:  “An ordinance providing for the passage and adoption of ordinances.’
  
August 26, 1937: It is announced the federal Central Valley Project will be built and managed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

September

September 4, 1948: The entire 48-mile Contra Costa Canal is completed with dedication ceremonies held at Martinez Reservoir.  All told, the canal cost $7.8 million to build.  When the canal was first proposed in 1930, it was estimated to cost $2.5 million. Inflation due to the war contributed to much of the increase.

September 6, 1968: The Bollman Water Treatment Plant is dedicated.  It is considered one of the most advanced filtration and purification plants in the United States. 

September 6, 2001:  LV Marina is dedicated and Los Vaqueros is opened to fishing. Larry Ward , a director of United Anglers of California, caught a 2.5 pound trout, the first fish officially landed at LV during a ceremonial “first cast.”.  “As Contra Costa County continues to grow and develop, people will be able to continue to come here for a quiet hike in the foothills, learn about our past, and at last, have a relaxing place to go fishing,” said CCWD President James Pretti.

September 7, 2005: CCWD sends three employees to Louisiana to coordinate CCWD’s efforts to help with Hurricane Katrina relief. 

September 14, 2001:  CCWD’s Employee Picnic is postponed following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.  It was rescheduled for October 28 at Los Vaqueros.

September 16, 1987: Interim Land Management Plan for Los Vaqueros is adopted. 

September 16, 2005: Four O&M employees are sent to the Bayou Liberty Water Association in Slidell, Louisiana to assist with Hurricane Katrina relief. 

September 16, 2016: CCWD’s most ambitious video “”Always For You” is released on You Tube and Vimeo. The in-house developed video tells the history of the water district and its importance in the area’s development. 

September 17, 1994: Construction begins on Los Vaqueros Reservoir with a dedication ceremony attended by about 500 people. “If there is anyone in California who desperately wants to attend the dedication of a new dam in her or her lifetime, I hope that they are here today because, certainly, this may the last one constructed for many, many years to come. The reason it will be constructed, and the reason we are here today, is because the Contra Costa Water District did it right,” said Congressman George Miller. 

September 17, 1994:  Association of California Water Agencies issues a commendation to the CCWD Board of Directors for the Los Vaqueros Project: “…proclaims an expression of acknowledgment for the distinguished efforts of the Contra Costa Water District Board of Directors and staff for their efforts in managing the planning, design and permitting process for the Los Vaqueros Project.” 

September 17, 1995: Vasco Road Ground Breaking ceremony is held.  In all, the District would build 12.8 miles of Vasco Road around the watershed.  As part of the project, the District builds large pipes under the roadway so animals such as the San Joaquin Kit Fox could migrate under the roadway.

September 19, 2013:  CCWD is awarded the District Transparency Certificate of Excellence by the Special District Leadership Foundation. This award recognizes efforts by CCWD to promote transparency and good governance. CCWD is the first agency in California to fulfill the requirements of the foundation. 

September 21, 2012: CCWD Energy Recovery Project, a one megawatt turbine, is now operational. The $6.2 million project uses water from the Los Vaqueros Pipeline to produce power.

September 23, 2001:  Three aircraft are spotted flying low across Los Vaqueros Reservoir, 12 days after the 9/11 attacks. District vows to find the pilots and prosecute them.

September 28, 2015; Redesigned Employee website-  www.ccwd-staff.com - debuts. It’s the first redesign of the employee site in 10 years.

October

October 1, 2008: CCWD enters into an agreement with Golden State Water Company, which serves Bay Point, to provide all treated water to the area.

October 1, 1969: Groundbreaking ceremonies for the construction of the new Administration building (District Center) are held.  Board President Craig Z Randall and Concord Mayor Warren Boggess “wielded” the ceremonial shovels. The building cost $1.5 million to build and was financed by the sale of “obsolescent” District property.

October 12, 2015:  CCWD is one of 12 utilities in the nation to earn the 2015 American Water Works Association Sustainable Water Utility Management Award. CCWD was noted for keeping local watersheds ecologically healthy, which ensures access to untreated water of high quality to process through its state-of-the-art water treatment plants, 4 optimizing chemical and energy use. Significant investments in water use efficiency projects have helped reduce total water use by over 30 percent. The District is balancing operating expenditures, revenues and debt service, investing in infrastructure assets, controlling operations and maintenance expenditures and increasing water quality and customer service levels.

October 12, 1940:  CCWD makes its first commercial water delivery, to the Columbia-Geneva Division of United States Steel in Pittsburg. 

October 15, 1945: Contra Costa Canal construction resumes after being interrupted in 1942 by WW II.

October 16, 2008:  CCWD and the City of Brentwood dedicate the Brentwood Water Treatment Plant.  It serves the City of Brentwood. CCWD oversaw the construction of the plant, and District employees continue to operate it. “The City of Brentwood proactively addressed its growing water demands through the partnership with CCWD,” said Mayor Robert Taylor.  “This facility provides a permanent water treatment solution for Brentwood residents.”

October 19, 1937: Construction starts on the first unit of the Central Valley Project, the Contra Costa Canal.

October 20, 1959: With a margin of 6 to 1 in favor, voters approve $13.8 million bond for purchase of California Water Service Co.

October 23, 2011: District assures customers and employees that CCWD water is safe following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. “We have no indications of tampering or any risk of the water system being compromised,” said General Manager Walter J. Bishop.

October 29, 2006: First Los Vaqueros Tarantula Run  isheld with 5K, 10k and half-marathon races. About 520 runners participate in the run, the largest public event held at the watershed since the dedication of the dam in 1998.

October 20: 2008: The Contra Costa Water District has been awarded the Platinum Award for Utility Excellence from the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in implementing the nationally recognized Attributes of Effectively Managed Utilities.

November

November 3, 1966: CCCWD caps its last well.  CCCWD had depended on seven wells near Clyde and 12 other wells for peaking water supply.  Wells provided up to 6 percent of the District’s water prior to capping the wells. CCCWD’s only source of water is now the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

November 5, 1937:  Groundbreaking ceremony for start of Contra Costa Canal construction is held in Oakley The ceremony also markz the start of the Central Valley Project. In his speech, California Gov. Frank Merriam officially started project by pulling the levers on a massive earth moving machine.  He called the project "one of the greatest undertakings the world has ever known."

 November 8, 2003: CCWD ships more than 2,000 historic roofing tiles to Mission San Miguel near Paso Robles. The handmade red terra cotta tiles, some more than 100 years old, were removed from the Star Ranch building in 1994 and stored at the watershed.  The tiles were used on historic buildings at the mission. A local Boy Scout troop packed the tiles into large bins for shipping. You can see a few of these tiles in the John Muir Interpretive Center at Los Vaqueros.

November 8, 1988:  Voters pass $450 million bond –Measure W -- for funding of Los Vaqueros Reservoir Project with 70 percent of the vote.  

November 16, 2012:  The Los Vaqueros Marina building is moved to higher ground as part of the expansion of the reservoir.  The job takes two days to move the building a little more than a quarter mile.

November 18, 1981: The Contra Costa County Water District drops “County” from its name, to be known as the Contra Costa Water District. 

November 20, 1967:  CCCWD buys Clyde Water District for $3,500, serving treated water to Port Costa and Clyde.

November 28, 1967: Contra Loma Reservoir is dedicated, giving CCCWD an emergency water supply.  Floyd Dominy, legendary commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, is the guest speaker. 

November 28, 2008:  CCWD’s Education Program earns the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award for Children’s Environmental Education.  

December

December 1, 1970:  
The District begins using its first computer system for processing bills, accounting, inventory and engineering. The NCR Century 100 with removable disc memory, was nicknamed “Tilly, The Computer With a Heart”  

December 7, 1970:  Mrs. Curtis Terrel of Pacheco is the first person to pay her water bill personally at the new District Center. To honor the occasion, her bill was reimbursed by the District.

December 8, 2010:  The Board of Directors unanimously award the construction contract for the dam enlargement phase of the Los Vaqueros Expansion Project to Barnard Construction Company. When the entire $120 million project is completed in 2012, the reservoir’s capacity will increase from 100,000 acre-feet to 160,000 acre-feet.

December 8, 2011:  Los Vaqueros Dam’s expansion project is topped out. The dam now sits at its final elevation of 521 feet above sea level, 34-feet above the original dam.

December 9, 2005:  CCWD earns the Theodore Roosevelt Award from the Association of California Water Agencies for mitigation at the Los Vaqueros Watershed.

December 17, 2014: Director Connstance Holdaway is appointed to the Board of Directors, replacing Karl Wandry who died in October. For the first time, CCWD’s Board has a majority of three women on the board.

December. 19. 2001: Construction of the Multi-Purpose Pipeline Project (MPP) begins in Antioch. At the time, the 21-mile long pipeline was the second-largest project the District had undertaken after the construction of Los Vaqueros.

December 20, 1967: Ralph D. Bollman presides over his last CCCWD board meeting.

Do you know of an event or occurance in the District's history that we should feature? Call Jim Freschi at Ext. 8175 or email him at jfreschi@ccwater.com