On June 18, 1957, Livermore-Amador Valley voters overwhelmingly approved creation of Zone 7 in order to place under local control, through a locally elected board of directors, the vital matters of flood protection and water resource management in eastern Alameda County.
Enjoy audio/video excerpts from our 50th anniversary celebration.
(photo on right: Zone 7 float appeared in June at the Livermore Rodeo Parade, and two weeks later at the Alameda County Fair Parade in Pleasanton, as part of the Agency's 50th anniversary festivities)
THE BIRTH OF A WATER AGENCY
In 1961, four years after Valley voters approved formation of the Zone 7 Water Agency, Alameda County and Zone 7 officials took part in contract signing for State Water Project water from the South Bay Aqueduct with then-Gov. Edmund G. "Pat" Brown. Brown is at right with William Warne, director of the state Department of Water Resources, pointing out contract details.
(Photo courtesy of the Livermore Heritage Guild)
A STEP BACK IN TIME
In 1957, Elvis Presley was shaking his hips -- and proper society. There was economic prosperity, the Baby Boom, and the debut of Leave it to Beaver. The Cold War with the Soviet Union had made the Livermore Valley home to two national laboratories working on nuclear weapons. President Dwight Eisenhower had signed legislation approving the Interstate Highway system. Meanwhile, Alameda County's population approached 841,000 -- about four times larger than at the turn of the century.
And Zone 7 of the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District was approved by voters in the Livermore-Amador Valley to address inadequate flood protection and water supply.
VALLEY WATER NEEDS ARE DEEPLY ROOTED
An early 1900s
(Photo courtesy of
Livermore Heriage Guild)
Since long before Zone 7 was created, the critical issues of water supply, water quality and flood protection have shaped the region's ability to prosper either agriculturally or as a thriving Bay Area suburb. Although the Valley was far less populated during the first half of the 20th Century than it is today, a declining groundwater table and periods of drought back then had local farmers, vintners and residents alike worried about their livelihoods, according to reports published in 1948. And there was frequent flooding, particularly in northern Pleasanton, where Hacienda Business Park is now located.
Zone 7 -- established in 1957 by local voters demanding local control over local water-resource planning and financing -- has taken the Valley a long way to resolving many of its most pressing water-supply, water-quality and flood-protection problems. The seven-member Board of Directors has continually formulated and implemented needed programs for flood protection and water-resource management, incorporating recreational and environmental benefits where feasible.
But many issues have persisted over the decades, and their implications on local land use, local control and local financing continue to surface. Indeed, they are alive and well today as Zone 7 works to improve water reliability and quality, along with flood protection, in the most economical and environmentally sound ways possible, and to accommodate new development being approved by Valley cities at no cost or harm to existing residents.
With reliable water supplies key to agriculture, well-known Valley vintners Karl Wente and Joseph Conannon were early members of the Zone 7 Board of Directors. Wente, the board's very first chairman, served from 1957 to 1970, and Concannon from 1970 to 1978.
Wente's son, Philip Wente, served on the board from 1978 to 1994 and Concannon's brother, James Concannon, served from 1984 until 2008.
For a complete listing of board members from 1957 to present, click here.