The first cooperative effort to supply water to the ODWD service area started when local wells stopped producing agricultural irrigation water due to over pumping. Later on, the farmers drilled deep wells on the banks of the San Gabriel River on the north side of Washington Boulevard. Groundwater from deep wells was pumped through large pipelines (some of the pipelines were made of redwood) to a tank at the intersection of Telegraph Road and Mills Avenue, and water was distributed to the users from this point. The first water company was called Hillside Distribution Company. Carl J. Kriesant purchased this company in 1947 and renamed it Orchard Dale Service Company.
In the early 1950s, residential development in the area began to increase and the influx of consumers required immediate and extensive modernization of the water supply system. Because the Orchard Dale Service Company was neither financially able nor inclined to make these improvements, the local citizens had a series of meetings to determine and implement the best way to meet the water demand. The local committee decided to put the formation of a County Water District to the vote of the people; the voting result was 364 in agreement to 102 disagreements.
In 1954, Orchard Dale Water District was established pursuant to the County Water District Act (Water Code §30000 et seq.). The District members approved a $500,000 bond to purchase and improve the water supply facilities. From this point in time, ODWD has grown to it’s present size of approximately 20,013 served population through 4,165 service connections using approximately 2,500 acre-feet of water a year. The District’s sphere of influence is coterminous with its boundaries. The majority of the District’s boundaries lie within the sphere of influence of the City of Whittier. Customers are a mix of primarily single and multi-family residences in addition to eight institutional customers. Water service is provided to all customers for domestic, irrigation, and fire protection uses.
Currently, ODWD has nine employees, including the General Manager who serves under the direction of the five-member Board of Directors. Each Director is elected to a four-year term by voters who reside within the service area.