Municipal Water Service Boundaries in Southern Monterey Bay Region

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Image 1. Major water service providers with in the Southern Monterey Bay Region. The list is not comprehensive.

This information is by the ENVS 560/L Watershed Systems class at CSUMB.


Several water providers are located along the Southern Monterey Bay Region, such as Marina Coast Water District (MCWD) and California American Water Company (CalAm), small private water districts, and private wells. The boundaries of these entities are the result of historic purchases, legal action, and development.

Southern Monterey Bay Water Service Boundaries

For each water service boundary, a company provides water to the population in that area. Multiple entities serve Monterey Bay's water needs including, but not limited to:

CalAm Boundaries

In 1966 CalAm purchased the southern Monterey Bay's water infrastructure from the California Water and Telephone Company. This purchase included the San Clemente Dam and Los Padres Dam. Since then, CalAm has been providing water to approximately 85% of the Peninsula's population.

CalAm's service area encompasses portions of City of Seaside, the City of Monterey, City of Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Carmel, Carmel Highlands, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and Carmel Valley [2].

Over the years CalAm has acquired land through various purchases in Monterey Bay. Below are a few instances of CalAm obtaining property:

  • 1989 - CalAm acquired the Ryan Ranch water facilities from the Delaware Corp. [3]
  • CalAm obtained Rancho Fiesta Mutual Water System [4].
  • 1993 - CalAm acquired and annexed the Hidden Hills Unit, which formerly reported as the Carmel Valley Mutual Water Company [5]
  • 1999 - The Bishop Unit, which was operated by Cal-Am since September 1996, was acquired and annexed into the Cal-Am water system [6]

MCWD Boundaries

The Marina Coast Water District (MCWD) has been the main water purveyor for the City of Marina since it's establishment in 1958. The original boundaries were set to coincide with the existing fire service boundaries of the Marina Fire District.

Since its creation, MCWD has changed boundaries in a few instances. In 1997, with the closure of the Fort Ord Army Base, MCWD entered into an agreement to manage the former Army's water infrastructure. This was finalized by the Board of Directors in 2001 [7]. Half of the City of Seaside's water infrastructure lies within the boundaries of Fort Ord which was annexed into MCWD's distribution system with Fort Ord lands.

Other instances of MCWD boundary changes include:

  • 2013 - MCWD increased boundaries to include Seaside High School [8]

Salinas Water Service Boundaries

Image 2. Boundaries for the Salinas water service providers California Water Service and Alco Water Service. Image source: City of Salinas General Plan

The City of Salinas and surrounding areas are served by two water purveyors: California Water Service and Alco Water Service.[9]

California Water Service has served the majority of the urbanized areas in Salinas since 1962. The water district has 46 wells and 30 storage tanks to serve Salinas and surrounding areas (Buena Vista, Country Meadows, Salinas, Salinas Hills, Indian Springs, Las Lomas, Oak Hills, and Foothill Estates).[10] The major difficulty that is that the district is losing wells to various types of contamination.[11]

Alco Water Service serves 30,000 residents in East Salinas.[12]

Seaside Municipal Water System Boundaries

Image 3. Boundaries for the Seaside Municipal Water System. Image: City of Seaside

Between CalAm and MCWD boundaries is the Seaside Municipal Water System within the City of Seaside. The Seaside Municipal Water System is small municipal water system composed of one groundwater well and two 500,000 gallon water tanks. The main source of water is groundwater from the Seaside Groundwater Basin.

Small Private Water Company & Well Boundaries

Multiple small, private companies serve the Peninsula was well. Some of the companies include:

  • Water West Corporation serves a portion of the Carmel Valley through 4 wells [4].
  • The Monterra Ranch and Tehama Subdivisions are serviced by a small company called Cañada Woods Water Company Water Distribution System (CWWCWDS) [13]
  • Carmel Riviera Mutual Water Company serves approximately 177 properties in south Carmel Highlands. [14] [15]
  • Pebble Beach – LCP (Macomber Estates) [16]
  • Santa Lucia Preserve houses a few parcels that are on private wells[16]
  • Victorine Ranch Mutual Water District [17]
  • Brandon Creek Mutual Water Corp [18]
  • Malpaso Water Company was created by Clint Eastwood as a limited liability company (LLC). [19]
  • Aguajito Road Water System in Carmel [20]
  • Cachagua Road Water System [20]
  • Carmel Valley Water System [20]
  • Hitchcock Canyon Water System [20]
  • Highway 1 Water System [20]
  • Jamesburg Mutual Water System [20]
  • Los Laureles Water System [20]
  • River Meadow Road Water System [20]

Other known private wells are:

  • Schulte Road Water [20]
  • P&M Ranch [4].
  • Prince's Camp [4].
  • Sleepy Hollow [4].
  • Moro Mini [4].
  • Jensen Mobil Home [4].
  • Cauchagua Road 1: Brannan [4].
  • Cauchagua Road 2: Jones [4].
  • Los Ranchitos De Aguajito [4].
  • Nason Road [4].
  • Country Club Road [4].

Relationship to Water Sources

Image 4. Left: Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD) boundary. Right: Monterey Bay aquifer boundaries. Image sources: MPWMD Website and Central Coast Groundwater Report

In Monterey Bay the water service boundaries do not line up with watershed or aquifer boundaries. Land parcels tend coincide with a single agency or water source. Boundaries are usually delineated from agency interactions.

The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD) is the regulatory agency that comprehensively manages the water distributors in Monterey Peninsula, Seaside, and portions of Carmel Valley. MPWMD manages approximately 40 distribution systems and 900 private wells that use the Carmel River, its tributaries, the Carmel River Alluvial Aquifer and Seaside Coastal Subareas [21]. Water service provider districts do not coincide with groundwater basins, but the MPWMD extent encompass the Carmel Alluvial Aquifer. This gives MPWMD authority to comprehensively manage both surface and groundwater sourced from Carmel. [22]

MPWMD advises water companies on rates, issue water permits, and monitors water use on the Peninsula. [23]

All activities dealing with dealing with water systems, within MPWMD boundaries, must be approved by the MPWMD Board.



  1. City of Seaside Website
  2. Monterey District Urban Water Management and Water Shortage Contigency Plan for California American Water (2006 -2010)
  3. [1]
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 MPWMD EIR 1990
  5. MPWMD Board Packet - Item 12
  6. [2]
  7. MCWD Website
  8. MCWD Board Packet 2/20/2013
  9. City of Salinas: Utility Services
  10. California Water Service: Cal Water Customer Centers
  11. City of Salinas General Plan
  12. Monterey County Weekly
  13. 2005 MPWMD Public Hearing on Tehama/Monterra
  14. Water and Waste Digest
  15. Carmel Highlands Onsite Wastewater Management Plan 2009
  16. 16.0 16.1 Monterey County - Water Demand Analysis 2010
  17. Victorine Ranch Mutual Water District
  18. Water Boards - Monterey County Water System
  19. MPWMD Public Hearing 2015 Item 12
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 20.6 20.7 20.8 County of Monterey Health Department - Small Water System List
  21. MPWMD Presentation
  22. MPWMD Water Distribution Permits from the CVAA 2006
  23. Monterey Couts - A Glass Half Full Water