General Manager's Message

January 2013
Formed by voters in 1936, the District’s mission is to provide its customers with high-quality water and reliable service in an environmentally-responsible, cost-effective manner.

Our primary source of water is the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and we keep a steady focus on ensuring the quality and reliability of that source. As late as the mid-1990s, the District had only two unscreened intakes in the Delta and no major reservoir for the storage of untreated water.  This subjected our customers to sharp fluctuations in water quality as the salinity of the Delta rose and fell. It also subjected customers to severe rationing in times of drought.
Jerry Brown
Over the past 15 years, significant progress has been made to change all of that. In the late 1990s, we built the Los Vaqueros Reservoir, a major storage facility that allows us to store high-quality water for blending when the Delta’s salinity is high. This allows us to maintain water-quality consistency for our customers. We also added 2 more intakes in the Delta, bringing the total to 4, and fully screened all of them to protect fish populations. With 4 screened intakes, we can monitor water quality and environmental conditions at various locations and pump from the best location at any given time.

In 2012, the District took another step to ensure water quality and reliability for its customers by enlarging the Los Vaqueros Reservoir by 60 percent, bringing it to a storage capacity of 160,000 acre-feet. This was a sizeable accomplishment for the District, as it will benefit customers for years to come, particularly during droughts. At the start of 2013, we began filling Los Vaqueros’ new capacity. This could take 18 months or more, depending on weather conditions and customers’ usage. In addition, we are continuing to pursue partnerships with other Bay Area water agencies to make the expanded reservoir’s storage capacity a regional asset and offset costs for customers.

While the reservoir and its expansion have received a lot of attention in the past few years, they are not the only investments we have under way to ensure the value of the service we provide. The many facets of the District’s business are routinely operated to provide value and ensure agency sustainability, making our water service worth every penny of the water rates we charge. We invest regularly in maintaining and upgrading our treatment, storage and distribution system based on cost-benefit analyses that guard against the expensive surprises that come from deferring maintenance for too long. At the same time, we operate our facilities as cost-effectively as possible, always with an eye toward reducing energy bills and maximizing the productivity of staff.

As always, the safety of our employees and the security of our facilities are top priorities. The District has developed a world-class safety culture, and in 2012 2 records were set for the number of days worked without lost-time incidents. I am proud to note that our successes in the area of safety were recognized in the fall when the American Water Works Association California-Nevada Section presented the District with the Larry C. Larson Safety Award.

Without question, the District has a solid history of performance and we are moving forward to provide value to the 500,000 people who depend on us for water. We’ve successfully met many challenges in the past, and we look forward to successfully serving our customers into the future.
Jerry Brown Signature
Jerry Brown
General Manager
Contra Costa Water District