The La Cañada Irrigation District was formed in 1924 by a vigilant committee of landowners who recognized the need for a solution to the growing demands of the region’s rapidly expanding population.
The landowners initially came together in 1922, as a surge of ranches began settling across the foothills and raised concerns about an imminent water shortage. They recognized the value of an expanded water system able to support their growing community and they set out to achieve their vision as the “La Cañada Irrigation District Committee.”
But the formation of the District was no easy task, as it first required the consolidation of the old La Canada Water Company (founded in the late 1800s) and the Alta Canada Mutual Water Company (founded in the early 1900’s). This, of course, meant a complicated legal process and the angry opposition of older land barons who didn’t want to relinquish their valuable property and water rights to accommodate the influx of newcomers.
However, the committee persevered and continued to negotiate until matters were finally resolved. On April 13, 1924, Los Angeles County approved the formation of the La Canada Irrigation District and thus began the development of its water system. The fledgling young company began with three water sources that combined groundwater from two wells located in the Monk Hill subarea of the Raymond Basin and tunnel water piped in from Pickens Canyon. While this initial system provided the District’s early customers with a reliable water supply to survive on, water conservation was essential and families were restricted to filling their household storage on specified days at specific times.
Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, the District continued expanding its water system with major additions such as the purchase of water rights to Snover Canyon and the construction of a one million gallon reservoir at Los Amigos Street. But as the customer population doubled and continued to climb, other factors such as seasonal droughts and new pumping restrictions put the entire region in short supply.
In 1952, the District met with the other local water companies to find a solution to the growing water shortage. Together, the companies formed “The Foothill Municipal Water District,” which would serve as an agency representing the water needs of all foothill communities.
In 1955, the agency purchased water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), and began supplementing the local groundwater supply with water delivered from the Colorado River. Since then, this much-needed solution has enabled the District to continuously provide a reliable, quality water supply to its ever-growing community. Today, over 90% of the water consumed within the District is imported from both the Colorado River and the State Water Project (Northern California) waters.
In 1965, Douglas Caister was appointed as the District’s Superintendent-Manager and he immediately initiated an extensive improvement program, which brought many significant developments such as the installation of electronic telemetering equipment. Since then, the District’s entire infrastructure has undergone a complete overhaul to a more sophisticated water system with several major improvements that include; mainline pipe replacements, upgraded booster pump stations, the addition of generators, etc.
Today, the District continues to operate under the management of Douglas Caister and a dedicated team of approximately 9 full-time employees, (many who have been with us for over 25 years).