On a very warm July 12, 2004, well over 125 people came to observe the 50th Anniversary of the Valley Center Municipal Water District at the District's headquarters.
Visitors, including District customers, dignitaries and District employees, were able to view numerous displays of historical documents and photos dating back to the early days of the District's formation and development, as well as a video paralleling the development of the District and the Valley Center community. District staff and Board Members were on hand to answer questions about the displays and discuss a wide range of issues with the public in attendance.
In addition to the materials developed by District staff, visitors were able to view displays and talk with representatives from the Metropolitan Water District (MWD), San Diego County Water Authority, and the Mission Resource Conservation District. MWD provided information on the water supply and recreational benefi ts of the Diamond Valley Reservoir in Hemet, California, the Authority had a display promoting residential conservation through low water use plants, the Mission Resource Conservation District had information on agricultural and landscape water use effi ciency as well as a display on watershed protection, and Master Gardeners were present to answer residents' questions on home gardening and landscaping.
Ceremonies began at 2:00 pm. with an adjourned regular meeting of the Board of Directors, where the District received commemorative resolutions and proclamations from representatives of Senator Dennis Hollingsworth, Assemblyman Ray Haynes, Congressmen Darrell Issa and Supervisor Bill Horn. The Board then adopted its own resolution commemorating the fi rst 50 years of existence for the Valley Center Municipal Water District.
Activities were concluded with a drawing for visitors, awarding the winners with an array of water conservation materials, devices, and low-water use plants to reinforce the District's ethic and commitment to water savings and the efficient use of our water resources.
Formation of the San Diego County Water Authority in 1944, and completion of the 1st San Diego Aqueduct in the late 1940's provided the arid inland North San Diego County an opportunity to secure a water supply from the Colorado River via the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to supplement the area's limited ground water and intermittent stream flows.
However, in order to secure that supply, local communities had to take the steps and go through the challenging process of forming a water agency, such as a Municipal Water District, join the San Diego County Water Authority and the Metropolitan Water District and then secure the means to finance, construct and operate a water supply system. The water was there, and it was up to individuals with vision and initiative to lead their communities on a path to securing the benefi ts and taking on the challenges which came with an imported water supply.
Following the election held June 21, 1954, in which an affi rmative vote was cast to organize the Valley Center Municipal Water District, the Secretary of State certifi ed the organization of the Valley Center Municipal Water District and filed the offi cial records of its formation on July 12, 1954. The District was offi cially annexed to the San Diego County Water Authority and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California on May 9, 1955, thereby securing a reliable source of water to serve the community.
By the late 1950's, area property owners, numbering just under 700, had made great progress toward building water supply system for Valley Center. By a large margin, voters had indebted themselves for $1.6 million in General Obligation bonds against an assessed valuation of $2.9 million for the entire 56,224 acre service area. Bonds had been issued and construction was underway on the initial water facilities. With the new Municipal Water District funded and underway, steps were taken to purchase a few small existing water systems, such as Pfau, Circle R, Jesmond Dene, and Sherwood Land Company/Valley Center Farms, with the intention of integrating them into the overall water storage, pumping and distribution system.
With the water came growth, and with growth, the need for more water. The 1960's saw the landowners of Valley Center indebt themselves over and over again through two more G.O. Bond issues and the formation of a number of improvement districts, or “U” Districts (the “U” was for unimproved area). Securing an ample and reliable water supply was not cheap, but evidently well worth the price for Valley Center landowners.
The $1,750,000 Valley Center Municipal Water District Bond issue was given 4 to 1 approval by local voters at the general election Tuesday [Nov. 3, 1964], according to a preliminary ballot count at the County Registar of Voters office. The vote count was 435 yes against 109 no.
The approved bond issue will cover the cost of new reservoirs and water lines in the district, however, it will not make money available in time to meet high irrigation demands next summer, said Cline Barney, representative of Engineering Science, district consulting engineers. District treasurer Charles Becker revealed this approval will not necessitate a tax increase. He said increased assessed valuation in the district can repay the bonds at the present tax rate of 2.76 per $100 assessed valuation. The largest share of the bond issue would finance three reservoirs, several new lines and a reservoir site to supplement San Vicente Reservoir.
The treasurer's figures showed that current income surplus, boosted by the rise in assessed valuation and the large number of new water users will be adequate to repay bond interest and principal and to meet regular district expenses, according to C. P. Kane, district manager. The baord will meet again at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13  at the district office.
Even with three General Obligation Bond Issues and the formation of twelve “U” Districts, the rapid expansion of agricultural plantings pushed the Board and staff to fi nd the resources to expand its strained water delivery system. VCMWD turned to the federal government for assistance under the Bureau of Reclamation PL 984 Loan Program, and the PL 660, Clean Water Act.
Applications were made and after numerous trips by local water offi cials to Washington, D.C. and Denver Colorado (regional headquarters for the Bureau of Reclamation), in excess of $13 million in grants and loans were secured from the federal government.
Though the Moosa Plant would take care of the I-15 Corridor wastewater treatment needs for many years to come, there were growing concerns about high ground water and the need for a wastewater treatment system for the Valley Center Central Valley area and, by the end of the 1970's, options were being explored by the VCMWD as to how to solve that issue.
1955 Water System Master Plan
With the formation process complete, the fl edgling District focused on the formidable task of constructing the facilities needed to actually deliver water. The District's fi rst Water System Master plan, which was funded by the voter approved $1.6 million bond issue in 1956, called for the construction of three connections to the San Diego County Water Authority's First Aqueduct, 47 miles of pipe (6” to 18” in diameter), fi ve pumping stations, and three reservoirs totaling 3.0 million gallons of water storage.
Today, 50 years later, the District has 283 miles of pipe, 7 aqueduct connections, 26 pumping stations with 96 pumping units, and 41 covered reservoirs with 135,000 million gallons of water storage. In addition to the water system, the District now owns and operates two wastewater treatment plants and 46 miles of sewer collection lines; facilities which were never considered or envisioned in 1955. It's been a busy 50 years!
By the early 1980's much of the water storage, pumping, and transmission system which serves Valley Center today was completed or near completion. Wastewater treatment for the Central Valley Area of Valley Center took the forefront and would lead to a very controversial period for the District, its Board and staff.
Efforts to secure outside funding for the Central Valley sewer system, which had its genesis in the mid to late 1970's, proved to be successful. By the mid 1980's, the District secured initial approval of grant funds and started planning and designing a low pressure sewer collection system, or STEP system to serve the 5,000 acre Central Valley Service Area. However, by the late 1980's, growing local concern over growth impacts from a sewer system led to a voter referendum in 1988. As a result, the District lost the sewer grant, and a spending limitation ordinance was imposed by the voters.
Due to the effects of a long-term local and statewide drought, which started in 1984, the District experienced what would be its record water deliveries in excess of 52,535 acre feet in Fiscal Year 1989-1990
A year later, also due to the effects of the statewide drought, the District faced cutbacks of up to 50% in early 1991. However, “Miracle March Rains” increased statewide water supplies and consumption reductions settled out at 30%. District used individual customer allocations and severe over-use penalties to achieve a 27% reduction in water use.
Because of the drought, growers were forced to abandon or stump significant portions of their groves. This, in combination with the loss of the Metropolitan Water District's Agricultural discount, caused a signifi cant decline in water deliveries through the mid-1990's.
However, by 1994, VCMWD, with other agricultural agencies and farming interests, petitioned and were successful in getting MWD to re-institute the agricultural water pricing discount. With the return of normal supplies, re-institution of agricultural water pricing, and the recovery of stumped or abandoned groves resulted in an upward trend in water deliveries.
On the wastewater front, VCMWD also became involved in a County of San Diego sponsored Sewer System Assessment District to construct the Central Valley Sewer System, which was ultimately unsuccessful and abandoned in 1997, due to affordability issues.
Rapid residential development and a sustained agricultural economy have posed many challenges for the District. For the first four years of the new century, there has been a steady stream of private water and waste water development projects, as well as $2 to $3 million a year in District initiated capital improvement and replacement projects. A recent update of the Water System Master Plan indicated that in 2002 dollars, there is a total of $65 million in capital facility replacements and improvements to accomplish over the next 15 to 20 years.
In addition to the District's initiated projects, there are also 71 private development efforts underway in our service area which will add 1,400 new customers to our system, four of which involve on-site wastewater treatment and reclamation facilities.
At this time, we are rapidly approaching 9,000 active service connections, and our District is the San Diego County Water Authority's second largest water customer, second only to the City of San Diego.
Much effort is spent in maintaining appropriate water rate charges for our agricultural customer base as 85% of our water deliveries sustain avocado, citrus, fl ower nurseries and livestock operations. Not only is it an important segment to the local and regional economy, but agriculture is important to making Valley Center a special place.
As in the past, the Board and staff of the Valley Center Municipal Water District face many challenges today, and in the future:
Valley Center Municipal Water District is a public agency governed by a five-member Board of Directors. Board meetings are open to the public and are held on the first and third Monday of each month at 2:00 p.m.
Valley Center Municipal Water District Board of Directors Gary A Broomell, President Robert A. Polito, Vice President Merle J. Aleshire, Director Charles W. Stone, Jr., Director Randy D. Haskell, Director
Mission Statement of the Mission Statement of the Valley Center Municipal Water District “Our mission is to ensure customer satisfaction through quality service at the lowest possible cost.”
Valley Center Municipal Water District 29300 Valley Center Road P.O. Box 67 Valley Center, CA 92082 Phone (760) 735-4500Fax (760) 749-6478 email: email@example.com web: www.vcmwd.org