For more than half a century, the Company’s water was distributed and accounted for by the zanjero, which is Spanish for “the keeper of the ditches.” The zanjero controlled and measured the amount of water coming over wooden flumes. The water was originally used primarily for irrigation of local crops and as domestic water on the ranches.
By the 1950s, local ranches and oilfields were being divided into suburban homesites. Ditches and flumes were replaced by pipes, with meters to track water use. Land developers began transferring water service from the Company to the local municipal and public utilities. Throughout this transition, the Company continued to supply water to Whittier, La Habra and Brea, with the cities becoming stockholders in the Company.