San Benito County Water District
About San Benito County
San Benito County's agricultural terrain is nestled in the foothills of the Diablo and Gabilan mountain ranges, situated on California's central coast. San Benito County was formed in 1874. The county's ideal location is 95 miles south of San Francisco and 40 miles east of Monterey, providing quick access to ocean activities.
The City of Hollister, founded in 1868, is the commercial hub and center of government for San Benito County and serves as a county seat. The city has become a popular relocation spot for many urban Californians looking for affordable housing and a simpler, more meaningful way of life. The city is rich in history and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, comprised of 54 historic sites. Hollister is home to approximately 38,000, with a total population of approximately 57,000 for the county.
San Benito County has been called "California's Unspoiled Paradise" and provides unlimited opportunities for outdoor recreation such as rock climbing at the Pinnacles National Monument, off-road activities at the Hollister Hills State Recreation Park, golfing at some of the finest country-setting golf courses, and historic sightseeing in the Mission City of San Juan Bautista.
The pleasantly moderate climate is created by the Gabilan Range providing a buffer to most coastal fogs, although the Pajaro Pass allows cool ocean air to enter, and a similar buffer for the hot dry air of the San Joaquin Valley is created by the Diablo Range. Cool ocean air regulates the city's temperature resulting in warm summers and mild winters.
About our Water District
In 1953, the State Legislation passed legislation establishing the District Act, forming the San Benito County Water Conservation and Flood Control District (which succeeded the Hollister Irrigation District that was formed in 1922). In 1989, the District changed names, and officially became who we are today, San Benito County Water District.
In 1957, the financing for building and operating Hernandez Dam, and the reconstruction of the Paicines Canal and Diversion works were approved. In 1977, voters in San Benito County voted with 82% approval to fund the project to implement and import water in the County. In 1978, the San Benito County Water Conservation and Flood Control entered into a contract with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to finance the project and act as the delivering agency for the contracted 43,800 acre feet of imported water. Contracts were awarded in 1982 to start construction on San Benito's own distribution system to deliver the imported water. The distribution system is comprised of eight pressure reducing turnouts, four pumping facilities, eleven percolation sites, and the 10,000 acre foot San Justo Reservoir. A computerized telemetry system aids in delivering water through over 120 miles of buried pipe.
Today the District manages the groundwater in the San Benito County portion of the Hollister-Gilroy basin, operates the San Benito River System and the San Felipe Distribution System, delivers imported CVP water to irrigation and M&I customers, and manages recharge through local streams. Current revenue producing water use is about 42,500 acre feet per year. The District is governed by an elected five member Board of Directors, and administered by the District Manager/Engineer.