fbpx Consolidation - California Water Association
To achieve economies of scale and ensure the delivery of high-quality drinking water, California has been focusing on consolidating small water systems in small cities served by more than one water provider, particularly in communities where systems are out of compliance with drinking water standards.

Suburban Water Systems

For over a decade, the residents of Sativa suffered from inadequate water quality and service until state legislation enabled the transition of its management to Los Angeles County Public Works, which then facilitated a competitive process to find a new service provider. Suburban Water Systems was selected for its strong proposal, promising not only to invest $8.5 million in essential infrastructure improvements but also to ensure affordable rates, exceptional customer service, and clean, safe water. The acquisition, approved by the California Public Utilities Commission, culminated in reduced rates and extended low-income rate assistance to Sativa’s customers. Suburban’s integration into the community has been marked by engaging local events and hiring initiatives, including the notable addition of a Sativa community member to their Customer Service team. This transformation exemplifies how investor-owned utilities can significantly enhance service quality and community engagement in areas previously underserved.

Golden State Water

South Shore, formally a mutual water company known as Crescent Bay Improvement Company,  serves 24 customers and treats surface water from Clear Lake in Lake County. Golden State Water Company (GSWC)  acquired the system in July 2023. The system has been out of compliance for many years – exceeding the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for disinfection byproducts and on a boil order for high turbidity. The lake water is very difficult to treat and the system’s small water treatment plant cannot produce high quality water. GSWC is now providing customers with bottled water as it improves processes and infrastructure. Long-term investments include the development of additional water supply, a new water main and meters.

Golden State Water Company

The Robbins system was acquired by Golden State Water Company (GSWC)  in May 2022 and served 94 connections. The system was previously owned and operated by Sutter County and has been out of compliance with the arsenic Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for many years. GSWC is now providing customers with delivered bottled water service funded by a grant through the State Water Resources Control Board. Design is complete on a new well and treatment plant. GSWC is working with water board staff on the execution of grant funding for the project construction and will be releasing the bids soon. Construction is expected to be completed to update the system by the end of 2025.

California American Water

The California Public Utilities Commission approved the acquisition of Meadowbrook Water Company by California American Water (CAW) for $4 million on December 1, 2016. This transition, effective in 2017, resulted in CAW taking over approximately 1,650 water connections in Merced County. CAW has a comprehensive conservation program that includes rebates, free services, and devices designed to promote water conservation that Meadowbrook customers can utilize. The acquisition aims to provide Meadowbrook’s customers with safe, reliable water services at reasonable rates, while it enhances water management and service quality in the region.

California American Water

California American Water (CAW) acquired Oxbow Marina Mutual Water Company, on July 18, 2017. The acquisition, approved by the California Public Utilities Commission, integrates Oxbow’s system—which had faced challenges in meeting state and federal water standards—into CAW’s network. This integration provides the residents and businesses at Oxbow Marina, a large deluxe marina on Georgiana Slough, with improved potable water service by connecting them to the advanced filtration systems at CAW’s Isleton facility. The upgrade is part of a collaborative effort that also involves the California State Water Resources Control Board Division of Financial Assistance, enhancing water quality and ensuring compliance with health standards by reducing arsenic levels previously above legal limits. This strategic partnership underscores CAW’s commitment to providing safe, reliable water service and introduces Oxbow’s customers to new conservation programs and services.

California American Water

The communities of Coors Gold, Raymond, O’Churst, and Bass Lake in East Madera County, known as the gateway to Yosemite, have unique demands for water due to their involvement in logging, mining, and outdoor adventures. However, water quality and water supply have been major issues, affecting local development and safety standards. CAWr tackled these challenges by acquiring the Hillview water system, leading to significant improvements in water quality and management. This consolidation has allowed the community to meet safety standards, stabilize water rates, and integrate advanced technologies like automated meters, resulting in improved customer satisfaction and more stable long-term water supply. The partnership with CAW is a positive change for the community, bringing professional management and efficient service to the area.