About the Company

Who We Are

California Domestic Water Company (Cal Domestic), based in Whittier, California, is a not-for-profit mutual water company that provides potable water for about 222,000 people in portions of the Cities of Whittier and La Mirada through Suburban Water Systems, City of La Habra, and City of Brea.

Suburban Water Systems, the City of La Habra, and the City of Brea represent the three major shareholders of Cal Domestic. Cal Domestic owns water rights that date back to the 1850s from the San Gabriel River Watershed, contributing to the development of communities along the south side of the Puente Hills that traverse today’s East Los Angeles County and North Orange County. Cal Domestic’s water rights pre-date today’s county boundaries.

Mutual Water Company FAQs

Our Shareholders

Suburban Water Systems, the City of La Habra, and the City of Brea are the three major shareholders.

Collaborating to Improve Shareholders’ Water Supplies.

Since California became a U.S. territory in 1848, the people of Whittier, La Mirada, La Habra, and Brea have worked together to develop the shared land and water resources we still enjoy today. Because of this legacy, the communities along the South Puente Hills corridor from the San Gabriel River to Brea benefit from the water rights owned by Cal Domestic. Those rights are allocated as a water entitlement to shareholders through their ownership of common stock shares. Whenever possible, Cal Domestic has also purchased additional water rights, making more water available to existing shareholders through special classes of stock. See fact sheets on stock distributions.

Cal Domestic Invests in the Community.

Cal Domestic has provided safe, affordable drinking water to its shareholders for over a century. Today, Cal Domestic continues to invest in shareholder communities to protect and conserve water supplies. From 2015 through 2016, Cal Domestic’s helped the Water Guardians, a student club, design and build a low-water-use garden at Washington Middle School in La Habra. The Water Guardians then presented student-sponsored water conservation legislation that was signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2016. Cal Domestic supported landscape improvements at the newly developed La Habra Civic Center and the low-water landscaping project at the Brea Community Center in 2017. In 2018, Cal Domestic supported a Suburban Water Systems program to help customers in Whittier and La Mirada adopt efficient watering practices for outdoor landscapes.

A Not-For-Profit Governed by Its Members.

Cal Domestic is governed by a Board of Directors nominated and elected by our main shareholders. Cal Domestic is a not-for-profit corporation that must comply with strict laws mandating ethics training for directors and staff, shareholder transparency, maintenance of financial reserves, maintenance of water quality standards, protection of the local environment, fair and safe employment practices, and high engineering standards for its infrastructure. Additional oversight is conducted by the State Water Resources Control Board; California and U.S. Environmental Protection Agencies; the Orange County and Los Angeles County Health Departments; the Main San Gabriel Watermaster; and the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Overlooking a valley and oil fields in La Habra.
Overlooking a valley and oil fields in La Habra.
The Water Guardians, a student club sponsored by Cal Domestic, participated in numerous water initiatives.
The Water Guardians, a student club sponsored by Cal Domestic, participated in numerous water initiatives.

Our History

131 Years of Continual Service

Black and white photo of two men conversing in front of original 1889-era District office, circa mid-20th century.

The original 1889 office was fully restored in 2012.

District management and staff posing in front of original District office, which was fully restored in 2012.

The 1889 office in the mid-20th century.

Cal Domestic is proud to be a leader in shaping the communities of the South Puente Hills along the Whittier Boulevard corridor by providing a reliable, affordable, and safe drinking water supply.

Founded in 1889…

It all started in 1889 when Simon J. Murphy founded the East Whittier Land and Water Company and built a pumphouse that served the emerging communities we know today as Whittier, La Habra, and Brea. The pumphouse was abandoned in the early 1900s, but Cal Domestic still maintains and uses Mr. Murphy’s easements for the wooden flumes and the ditches that conveyed water to oil fields and farms in and around the area’s communities.


1902: California Domestic Water Company Incorporates

Cal Domestic and La Habra Water Company were incorporated in 1902 when East Whittier Land and Water Company sold its water rights to George Chaffey. Chaffey also served as manager and later as a member of the Board of Directors for both companies. Cal Domestic and La Habra Water Company served local communities and shared management and facilities to provide irrigation water to area farms.

Cal Domestic acquired more land, wells, equipment, flumes, ditches, and rights-of-way from its predecessor, the East Whittier Land and Water Company, and entered a phase of explosive expansion, acquiring additional land and rights-of-way and developing new infrastructure.

Worker sitting casually in a large section of water pipe under construction, circa 1902.

1934: Offices Move to Whittier from Los Angeles

Cal Domestic’s and La Habra Water Company’s offices were originally located in Los Angeles until 1907, when they relocated to Greenleaf Avenue in Whittier. After several moves, the offices settled in 1934 at their current site on Whittier Boulevard, where they have remained ever since.

Turbine machinery, circa 1934

1950s: Bye-Bye Zanjero, Hello Meters and Houses

In the old days, water was distributed and accounted for by the zanjero. This is Spanish for “the keeper of the ditches,” who controlled and measured the amount of water coming over the wooden flume.

Also, during the 1950s, the ranches of La Habra and East Whittier and the oilfields in Whittier, La Habra, and Brea were being divided into suburban homesites. This led Cal-Domestic to install its first meters, thus beginning a new phase in its history. Land developers began transferring their domestic water service from Cal Domestic to the local municipal and public utilities. Throughout this transition, Cal Domestic continued to supply water to Whittier, La Habra, and Brea.

Photo op of two workers standing in a large ditch with sections of pipe under construction, circa 1950's.

1960s: Cadway Brings New Financial Strengths

In 1964, Cadway, Inc. was formed as a wholly owned subsidiary of Cal Domestic to acquire, hold, develop, exchange, and sell the Company’s properties. Cadway provides numerous tax and other financial benefits to Cal Domestic and its shareholders.

Today: Value, Service, State-of the-Art Facilities

Today, Cal Domestic operates a sophisticated water system with high-efficiency pumping plants, advanced water treatment facilities, and a highly trained and professional staff. Increasingly, Cal Domestic serves as a wholesale water purveyor, yet remains dedicated to quality and value for one of our most precious natural resources: WATER.

Photo op of staff, management and a worker kneeling in a large pipe under construction, circa 1990's.

Office Provides a Connection to Area History

The current office was rebuilt with careful attention to its history. The original office was built in 1934 as part of a joint Cal Domestic and La Habra Water Company water complex. It was constructed in a modest Art Deco style that was common in the 1920s and 1930s.

The remodeled building has been entered into the City of Whittier’s historic registry. The building retains its original shape and windows, its steel and glass door, and most of the Art Deco features, such as the triangular parapet. The metal letters reading “CALIFORNIA DOMESTIC WATER CO.” on the façade were also preserved from original construction.

Group photo of management and staff in District lobby.