Documentary History of American Water-works

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Pacific States
California San Mateo

San Mateo, California

San Mateo was incorporated in 1894.

The first water system was built by Alvinza Hayward in 1870 and was incorporated as the San Mateo Water Works in 1874.  The company's watershed and reservoir was purchased by the Spring Valley Water Company in 1883, in return for which the San Mateo Water Works received 300,000 gallons per day in perpetuity.  The company was purchased by the Pacific Water Company in 1927, and was in turn sold to the California Water Service Company in 1931.

Cal Water's Bayshore District was formed in 1931 with the purchase of the South San Francisco Water Company, the San Carlos Water Company, and the San Mateo water system from Pacific Water Company.

Water is provided by California Water Service, which buys water from the San Francisco Regional Water System.

1863 California Farmer and Journal of Useful Sciences 20(15):116 (20 November 1863)
A Company called the San Mateo Water Company has been formed to supply the plain, near Redwood City, with water.

1866 "San Mateo Water Company," Sacramento Daily Union, October 11, 1866.
This company commenced proceedings October 6th in San Francisco, and filed a petition before Judge Pratt to acquire certain water rights in San Mateo county, to wit: the waters of Corte Madera creek, Sausol creek, Dennis Martin creek, Arroyo Alembiqne, West Union crock and the waters of Mountain Home Lake. The application for the appointment of Commissioners to assess the damages will be heard at the next session of the District Court at Redwood City, at the December term.

1867 "Incorporations for 1866," Sacramento Daily Union, January 1, 1867, Page 6.
Sep. 29th- San Mateo Water Company, 16,000 shares capital stock $1,000,000.

1876 "Alvinza Hayward Turns over Property Values at Three Millions to his Wife," Sentinel (Red Bluff, California), January 29, 1876, Page 2.
10,000 share San Mateo Water Works Company

1883 Spring Valley Water Works v. San Mateo Water Works, 64 Cal. 123, August 30, 1883, Supreme Court of the State of California 

1883 History of San Mateo County, California

1888 "San Mateo," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1.

1890 "San Mateo," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 2.

1891 "San Mateo," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 3.

1897 "San Mateo," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 4.

1905 "Mr. Dingee Discusses the San Mateo Water Question," Evening Sentinel (Santa Cruz, California), April 29, 1905, Page 4

1916 Spring Valley Water Company, complainant, vs. city and county of San Francisco, et al, defendants.
Pages 2829-2830:  San Mateo Water Works. This company was incorporated December 11, 1874, for the purpose of securing such waters as the company might require and distributing and selling the same to the inhabitants of San Mateo County for agricultural and mechanical purposes (Cal. Supreme Court Records, Vol. 1185, p. 52. Case of Spring Valley Water Works vs. San Mateo Water Works, et al.) The grantor of the San Mateo Water Works, Alvinza Hayward, had, since 1869, been continuously engaged in the construction and maintenance of the system. (Ibid. pp. 56 and 61.) The latter consisted of two small storage
reservoirs in the Crystal Springs Valley now flooded by the Crystal Springs Reservoir, a distribution reservoir above the town of San Mateo, water mains from its storage reservoirs to the distribution reservoir and from thfe latter to San Mateo, and service pipes throughout the principal streets of the town. (Ibid. 56a, 75, etc.) The main supply of the San Mateo Water Works was catchment water accumulated in the "Hayward Reservoir" on lower San Andreas Creek. (Ibid. pp. 75 and 136). The actual cost of the works exclusive of real estate was $158,343.69 up to November, 1879. (Ibid, p. 144a). The company also acquired, December 21, 1874, five tracts of land from Alvinza Hayward which on that same date had been deeded to Hayward by James Byrnes. (Ibid, pp. 143a, 129). These tracts lay partially in the valley bottom and partially on the slopes and ridges, the total area being 964.93 acres. (Ibid. pp. 129a, 184). Byrnes deeded these lands to Hayward for $60,000 (Ibid. pp. 127a, 129), or $62.30 per acre. The population of the town of San Mateo at the date of trial of the case of Spring Valley Water Works vs. San Mateo Water Works, November, 1879, was about 1200. (Ibid. pp. 61a, 65).
The Spring Valley Water Works, in order to construct the main Crystal Springs Reservoir, was under the necessity of acquiring the real estate of the San Mateo Water Works in the Crystal Springs watershed and valley, including its small reservoir. This it accomplished by purchase, October 3, 1883. (Deed of San Mateo Water Works to Spring Valley Water Works). The purchase included ten parcels of land totaling 980.04 acres above Crystal Springs Dam and the two small reservoirs in the Crystal Springs Valley, but not the 5- and 6-inch pipe lines between the Hayward Reservoir in Crystal Springs Valley and the distributing reservoir, and between the latter and the distribution systems. The Spring Valley Water Works also agreed to deliver to the distribution reservoir of the San Mateo Water Works, in perpetuity, 300,000 gallons per day from Crystal Springs Lake or elsewhere. (See Deed).

1916 History of San Mateo County from the Earliest Times

1927 "San Mateo Water Deal before Board," Oakland Tribune, May 21, 1927, Page 24.

1928 "Spring Valley Water Company: The Water Supply of San Francisco," by George A. Elliot from History of San Mateo County, California, Volume 1, by Roy Cloud

1968 "1870's house still used," The Times (San Mateo, California), October 5, 1968, Page 31.
On Wednesday, February 16, 1875, water was released into the pipes of the San Mateo Water Works, then under the supervision of the Spring Valley Water Company, and Mr. Lawrence, of course...

1990 "Herman Schussler and the Spring Valley Water System," Gary M. O'Neill, La Peninsula 26(2):3-16 (August 1990)

1994 San Mateo: a centennial history, by Mitchell Postel

Page 68:  Alvinza Hayward. Sometime before 1870, Hayward bought the Agostin Harasthy property up San Mateo Creek, between Byrnes' Store and Crystal Springs, for the purpose of building a watershed. By 1870 he had built a dam to form the County's first municipal reservoir. Hayward made sure he had the backing of the County Board of Supervisors.  By that summer, 150 Chinese laborers had laid pipe to the doorstep of the community, allowing homes within San Mateo a constant flow of fresh water.
Regardless of his motives, Hayward had done a significant amount of good for the villagers. Later, when the Spring Valley Water Company bought up his water rights, Hayward made it a condition that the Company had to furnish without compensation 300,000 gallons of water daily to the San Mateo system in perpetuity. What was Hayward's motive? Certainly he felt real estate in the area would become more valuable, and he had bought plenty of it, adding to his considerable wealth.
Page 71:  By creating a reliable water system, subdividing appropriate properties and gaining political prestige, Hayward had by 1873 positioned himself to create a real estate bonanza at San Mateo.  
Page 73:  Hayward now had to face the fact that his real estate plans for San Mateo were too ambitious. He created a San Mateo Water Works Company in 1874 to care for his water system.

2018 Morris A. Pierce