Our History

North City Water District was created by an election of the people on August 1, 1931, and initiated the first water system facility construction that same year.

WD 42 Reservoir dated 1954 edit

View a detailed account of our history in these blog posts >

Originally known as King County Water District No. 42, our area’s water system was routinely expanded through the 1960s to meet the ever-increasing housing and commercial demands. All water was sourced from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU)’s Cedar River until 1963. In that year, upon completion of Seattle’s Tolt River pipeline (which was constructed through the middle of our water system), we retired a pump station located near NE 185th Street and 5th Avenue NE, and began using the Tolt River source as our primary water supply. Booster Stations 1 and 2 were constructed in that same year to pump water into the District’s higher service elevations.


Construction of I-5 during the mid 1960s essentially divided our service area into two sections, creating several areas with dead-end water mains, some of which still exist to this day. To determine the best course of action, we conducted an extensive water system engineering analysis, during which the engineers uncovered leaks in the original cast iron and steel water mains. At that point, the District implemented a water rate increase from $4.00 every two months (for the first 1,000 cubic feet of water) to $5.00 per month, in order to fund the necessary water main replacements.

I-5 construction seattle


During the mid 1970s, growth within our District and adjoining areas increased the water demand considerably. The City of Seattle initiated its demand metering program for wholesale customers (including the District) to rectify the regional impacts during peak demand periods (summer). In order to offset the impact of these costs to our ratepayers, we began constructing additional water storage and booster pump stations to “level out” our demand, thus ensuring a uniform rate of supply from the Seattle system and avoiding demand charge penalties.


Additional water mains were replaced during this decade, which accommodated improvements made by King County and the Department of Transportation. In 1988, we constructed a 2.0 MG concrete reservoir for additional water storage to meet increasing customer demand. Other improvements included rehabilitation of Booster Station 1, piping modifications to the 0.4 MG and 3.7 MG reservoirs, and construction of Pressure Reducing Stations 7, 8, and 9.


In 1991, we changed our name to Shoreline Water District; four years later, the City of Shoreline was incorporated, and began collecting a franchise fee from us in the year 2001. During this time period, our growth consisted primarily of short platting larger lots to accommodate additional single family residential homes, some new multifamily developments, as well as:

  • Several water main improvements to replace old cast iron pipe and increase fire flows
  • Replacement of Booster Station 2
  • Conversion of the Reservoir Booster Station to the 660 Zone Booster Pump Station,
  • Creation of the 660 Zone
  • Installation of two emergency interties with the City of Mountlake Terrace
  • Recoating, improved access, and seismic retrofit on the 3.7 MG Reservoir
  • New Pressure Reducing Stations 11 and 12
  • Replacement of Pressure Reducing Station 4


In 2001, the District signed a 60 year contract with Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) for water service. Two years later, we conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the SPU service area to assess incorporating the area. Water system improvements included updates to the 2.0 MG reservoir, the installation of generators at our 3.7 MG reservoir and Administrative Headquarters building, and a new Telemetry Monitoring System.


In January 2012, we added a new water connection with SPU’s Northwest regional supply; our water is now sourced from both the Tolt and Cedar River Watersheds. We also began design on a new North City Pump Station.

In 2013 we completed an expansion and remodel to our main Administrative Headquarters.

In 2014 we changed our name to North City Water District, to better clarify our role as a Special Purpose District that operates independently from the City of Shoreline and serves customers in areas outside of that City’s boundaries.

In 2017 we completed construction on the new North City Pump Station; it was officially named the North City / Denny Clouse Pump Station in recognition of our Operations Manager’s many years of dedication and service to the District.

In 2019 we began constructing a New Maintenance Facility, located just down the street from our main Administrative Headquarters.

2020 and beyond…

In 2020 we continued to ensure all of our customers and local businesses had good clean water, despite the impact of COVID-19 on all of us. Specific efforts included waiving all late fees and shut-offs due to delinquencies; developing three financial assistance programs for customers experiencing financial difficulties; making operational changes to comply with social distancing, enhanced safe work practices, and personal protective gear; and implementing various cost-cutting measures to enable us to forego any rate increases during this time period, in order to help our customers get back on their feet.

Going forward, we continue to focus on proactive system maintenance and regular infrastructure improvements, ensuring our water system remains far above the national average.