Our Water Distribution System is one of the City’s largest, most complex assets, and is supported by more than 37 full-time employees. The primary responsibility of the Water Distribution section is delivering safe, reliable, potable drinking water to our community. In addition to the potable Water Distribution System, the section also oversees Gibraltar Dam and a separate Recycled Water Distribution System. While parts of the Water Distribution System are over a century old, the City is investing heavily in replacing assets through strategic planning. Water Distribution staff are incredibly dedicated to serving the community and providing 24/7 response to emergencies.
The potable Water Distribution system supplies over 27,000 service connections and serves nearly 100,000 residents. To accomplish this scope of service water is conveyed through a network of carefully designed facilities including over 320 miles of water mains, 11 reservoirs, 16 pump stations, and 18 pressure-reducing stations. Our projects and maintenance efforts are often visible and impactful to the community and are necessary to ensure system reliability and maintain water quality. You may see Distribution staff installing, maintaining and repairing water mains, water system and control valves, service lines, fire hydrants, meters, pump stations, reservoirs, and groundwater production wells.
The Water Distribution section also oversees the operations and maintenance of Gibraltar Dam and Reservoir. The reservoir’s current capacity is over 4,500 acre-feet, which is capable of supplying up to approximately 40 percent of the City’s average demand. The dam is located 9 miles north of the City in a rugged and remote section of the Los Padres National Forest. City staff provide logistical support and spend a significant amount of time maintaining access roads and supporting the special projects needed to keep dam facilities reliable and self-sufficient, since access can be limited during heavy rain and landslides.
In addition to delivering potable and surface supplies, Water Distribution also operates a Recycled Water Distribution System, which is comprised of over 17 miles of water main, a reservoir, and two pump stations. Recycled water is a key source of supply and provides over 1,400 acre-feet per year to the community. The majority of recycled water is conveyed to local parks, schools, and other recreational spaces to keep them healthy, green, and attractive to the community. Important to these efforts is Water Distribution’s Cross-Connection Control Program, which ensures compliance with State regulations and making sure potable and non-potable sources are not mixed.
To make sure our systems are well supported, Water Distribution works closely with our Engineering Division and the City as a whole to plan, design, and construct many Capital Improvement Projects. Together we have planned and are executing hundreds of millions of dollars in improvements. Large projects include replacing approximately six miles of water mains per year, reservoir rehabilitation and replacement, and further integrating desalinated water into our systems.