About Us

Cal Domestic is a not-for-profit mutual water company offering shareholders and their customers a reliable, local resource that eliminates or significantly reduces the need to purchase more expensive imported water from Northern California or the Colorado River.

Cal Domestic’s shareholders – Suburban Water Systems and the cities of Brea and La Habra – supply a population of about 225,000 in their service areas, including the cities of Whittier and La Mirada. By maintaining a reliable system of pipes and pumps, Cal Domestic protects public health and supports a robust regional economy. Cal Domestic has been providing water to shareholders since securing water rights in the San Gabriel River Watershed in the 1850s. Today, seven wells pump groundwater from the Main San Gabriel Basin, feeding three treatment facilities and more than 30 miles of pipeline.

The company’s system begins in Los Angeles County and ends in north Orange County, crossing through El Monte, Industry, Whittier, La Habra, La Habra Heights, and Brea. Along the way, strict quality testing protocols ensure drinking water meets all state and federal safety standards.

Cal Domestic is led by an innovative Board of Directors and a modest and resourceful professional staff that plans for today and looks ahead to a future of continued water sustainability.

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Cadway, Inc.

Cadway was formed in 1964 to manage the housing and properties owned by Cal Domestic. At that time, water system operators received company housing near the system so they could efficiently monitor the facilities. Investments in communications systems lessened the need for company housing, and Cadway divested its ownership of many Company properties. Cadway is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cal Domestic, and both companies share the same employees and Board of Directors.

Water Leases to Cal Domestic. Cadway remains a water rights holder in the Basin and leases those rights to Cal Domestic for the benefit of shareholders.

Agreement with Rowland Water District. Cal Domestic’s tax-exempt structure means the Company cannot sell water to non-shareholders; but Cadway can. Rowland Water District (Rowland) has a storage and export agreement that allows them to buy cyclic storage water and keep it in the Basin, but Rowland is not a party to the Basin Judgment and cannot pump the water out. Rowland has agreed to pay Cadway to pump its Cyclic Storage water and deliver it through Cal Domestic facilities. This agreement generates $400,000 to $500,000 per year in surplus revenue for the Company, an amount that is expected to grow as Rowland develops the capacity to take more of this water.

(2021). 2021_03_09_AI_0206_Subsidence [Photograph]. California
Department of Water Resources. https://water.ca.gov/Library

Our Team

At Cal Domestic, we are dedicated to exceptional service, innovation and accountability. From long-range planning to daily operations, our lean team of nine employees is committed to working efficiently and effectively to meet our Shareholders’ needs, protect public health and support a vibrant economy.

Our staff consists of a diverse range of critical skills and responsibilities, from administration and accounting to operations and management. No matter each team member’s role, we are all devoted to ensuring dependable water is available for local communities. Learn more about our highly skilled, certified water system operators here.

Our Operations

Our History

1889 – Water Service Begins

Simon J. Murphy founded the East Whittier Land and Water Company in 1889. A newly constructed pumphouse served the communities we know today as Whittier, La Habra and Brea.

While the pumphouse was taken out of service and abandoned in the early 1900s, easements created during those early days are still used by Cal Domestic to deliver water.

1902: California Domestic Water Company Incorporates

Cal Domestic was incorporated when George Chaffey purchased water rights from the East Whittier Land and Water Company. Chaffey served as the manager initially and later became a member of the Board of Directors.

Over time, Cal Domestic acquired assets such as land, wells, equipment, flumes, ditches, and rights-of-way from its predecessor, leading to substantial growth through infrastructure development and further land and rights-of-way acquisitions.

1907: Making the Move to Whittier

The Cal Domestic and La Habra Water Company offices were originally located in Los Angeles. The mutual water companies made the move to Whittier in 1907, when they relocated to Greenleaf Avenue in Whittier.

1934: A Permanent Home

After it set up shop at several different sites in the early 20th century, Cal Domestic moved into new, Art Deco-style offices in 1934. The company has remained at the site on Whittier Boulevard ever since.

The building was recently renovated and modernized. The office structure retains its original shape and windows, the 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 the original facility.

1950s: Transitioning to a Modern Water System

For more than half a century, Cal Domestic 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 Cal Domestic to the local municipal and public utilities. Throughout this transition, Cal Domestic continued to supply water to Whittier, La Habra and Brea, with the cities becoming stockholders in the Company.

1964: Cadway Strengthens Cal Domestic Finances

To take advantage of changing tax policies, Cadway, Inc. was formed in 1964 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Cal Domestic. Utilizing Cadway to acquire and develop the Company’s properties provided numerous financial benefits to Cal Domestic and its Shareholders.

1973: Establishing Stock Entitlements

Water producers in the Main San Gabriel Basin agreed to an adjudication of their pumping rights, with a nine-member Watermaster Board overseeing the resolution under California’s Superior Court.

Cal Domestic allocates common stock entitlements to Shareholders based on the determination of the Main San Gabriel Basin Operating Safe Yield (OSY) and available water supply resources acquired through purchase or lease. The Cal Domestic Board of Directors annually establishes the Shareholder common stock entitlement rate.

1986: Safeguarding Water Resources

In response to the urgent need for environmental protection, Cal Domestic took decisive action by constructing an advanced air stripper treatment facility.

This facility effectively removes industrial solvents, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), found in the Main San Gabriel Basin water supplies and Cal Domestic wells in the 1970s, and is a testament to our unwavering commitment to safeguarding the community’s water resources.

1995: Planning for Long-term Reliability

A Water Master Plan was finalized, aimed at increasing the water system infrastructure’s delivery capabilities and meeting growing Shareholder demands.


1995: Planning for Long-term Reliability

A Water Master Plan was finalized, aimed at increasing the water system infrastructure’s delivery capabilities and meeting growing Shareholder demands.


2000-2002: Addressing Water Contamination

Cal Domestic took proactive measures to enhance water quality by constructing ultraviolet light and ion exchange treatment facilities.

These facilities successfully removed Perchloride and NDMA from the water supplied to Shareholders, ensuring a safe and reliable water source.

In partnership with other water utilities, Cal Domestic reached a pivotal settlement with the parties found responsible for water contamination in the Main San Gabriel Basin. Known as the Baldwin Park Operable Unit Project Agreement, this landmark settlement became part of the nation’s largest Super Fund clean-up site.

As a result, Cal Domestic was reimbursed for capital investments in treatment technologies, along with 100% of operation and maintenance expenses for the treatment facilities from 2001 to 2027. This compensation led to substantial cost savings for Shareholders, amounting to approximately $150 per acre-foot on all delivered water.

2007-2023: Protecting the Supply via Water Rights

Cal Domestic made major investments in water rights acquisitions and water rights leases to control the cost of water supply resources for Shareholders and to offer Shareholders supplemental water entitlements throughout extended periods of drought in the local watershed.

2018-2023: Further Ensuring Water Quality

As a result of increased sampling of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the Main San Gabriel Basin, Cal Domestic constructed an ion exchange treatment facility for the removal of PFAS from Cal Domestic’s Well B.

The facility ensures all state and federal quality standards are met on all water delivered to Shareholders, supplementing the water quality facilities competed in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Today: State-of-the-art Facilities Deliver Value for Shareholders

Cal Domestic operates a sophisticated water system with high-efficiency pumping plants, advanced water treatment facilities, and a highly trained professional staff. Functioning largely as a wholesale water provider for our three primary Shareholders, the Company produces and sells anywhere from 20,000-25,000 of acre-feet per water annually. Cal Domestic remains dedicated to delivering a clean and reliable supply of water to the community and its Shareholders.