Celebrating 90 Years of Excellence – Chapter 1

The Story of North City Water District – Chapter 1 of 10

This year marks the 90th anniversary of the North City Water District.

Imagine being one of those handful of individuals who got together and decided it was time to give our area their very own water utility. They had to have the foresight to look ahead, and the determination to plan a system that would meet the needs of both existing and future residents—an approach we’ve continued to uphold every year since then.

Originally called King County Water District No. 42, we were founded by a majority vote of local residents, who then voted to elect our first commissioners: H.A. Cross, William G. Munro, and L.H. Coffel. The commissioners then selected engineers and attorneys to help plan the development of the district, including:

  • Financing: an estimate for setting up basic services, along with identifying the most affordable way for residents to raise the money. Funds were established for construction, maintenance, and bond funding.
  • Sourcing: choosing the source of water—whether from nearby wells, purchasing from the City of Seattle or Everett, or developing our own water source from a lake or river.
  • Infrastructure: both transmission and distribution water mains had to be laid out with appropriate planning for future County development, along with the construction of a water storage tank to manage water pressure throughout the system.

On Saturday, September 30, 1933, a special election was held and these first steps forward were approved.

Fast forward 90 years and we still do many of the same things today:

  1. Commissioners are elected by residents;
  2. Attorneys and engineers guide us on specific actions;
  3. Staff and consultants help us address long-term financial affordability;
  4. We are negotiating another long term wholesale contract with Seattle for our water source;
  5. We continue to plan, inspect, maintain and upgrade our infrastructure and system components to meet the land use planning identified by our cities; and
  6. Reservoirs continue to be utilized for water storage and emergency supply (with regular inspections and maintenance to extend their life).

However these basic procedures have been overlaid with newer technologies, materials, and regulations, all of which require more staff, more training, more equipment and vehicles to manage the ever-improving water system operations.

Over the next 12 months, we’re planning to share the full story of our 90 year journey, decade by decade, in our newsletter and on our blog. Our goal is to give you a first-hand look into the level of foresight, planning, and dedication that has gone into making your special purpose water utility one of the best in the nation.