Just turn the tap, and the miracle of fresh, clean water is yours, at any moment. And after you’ve finished, whatever goes down your drain is collected and treated before being released into San Francisco Bay.
But it wasn't always that easy.
Frustrated by decades of unreliable local water supplies, the people of the East Bay voted in 1923 to form the East Bay Municipal Utility District.
This pivotal vote took place on May 8, 1923, and set in motion the creation of a public water system to replace the patchwork of 18 private water companies that had attempted and ultimately failed to provide sufficient clean water to a burgeoning region.
Searching beyond local sources of limited quantity and quality, the District chose to import water from the High-Sierra watershed of the Mokelumne River. Visionary engineers and the sweat and sacrifice of hundreds of laborers built Pardee Dam, the largest and highest dam ever constructed in the United States at that time. Three aqueducts now bring the water 91 miles across the San Joaquin Valley and Delta to East Bay reservoirs, providing quality that ranks with the best in the world. We treat and deliver this resource for 1.4 million customers.
At first, water supply was EBMUD's only business. But as rapid growth and inadequate sewers began to turn the eastern shores of San Francisco Bay into a swamp of sewage, six East Bay cities turned to EBMUD to solve this public health and environmental emergency.
In 1944, residents of Alameda and Contra Costa counties voted to build a wastewater treatment plant and sewer interceptor system to protect Bay water quality. Since EBMUD's wastewater plant began work in 1951, odors along the shore have disappeared, Bay water recreation has flourished and water quality has improved. We now treat wastewater for more than 740,000 customers.
From the beginning, you have entrusted EBMUD to solve some of the biggest problems of our time.
Our commitment to you and the East Bay extends day and night, through sunny skies and storms, from the Great Depression to pandemics, world wars, droughts, emergencies, and every other challenge that may come our way. For a century, EBMUD has been delivering on that promise to provide high-quality water to our community – affordably, responsibly, and reliably. This 100-year milestone is a testament to what we can accomplish when we work together. Together we’ll take on what’s next.
Cheers to the next century of service.
Celebrating water and community
Our centennial is a time of celebration, and we have many events and partnerships happening throughout the year to mark the occasion. We exist today because of the support of our community, and the steadfast belief that reliable, high-quality water is the essential life force that keeps our region growing and thriving. Our mission during our 100th anniversary is to celebrate with you, our valued customers. Join us!
Construction of the Pardee Dam
This photo collection was donated to EBMUD, documenting the construction of the Pardee Dam on the Mokelumne River from 1927 until its completion in 1929. The photos were found in an album that belonged to Carl E. Grunsky Jr., an EBMUD General Superintendent who worked on the dam project. Crews built both the Pardee Dam—the highest-gravity arch dam in the world at that time—and the Mokelumne aqueduct to bring water from the Sierra Nevada to the East Bay.