Montara's Successful Buyout of Cal Am

Jim Harvey & Kathryn Slater-Carter, Montara Water and Sanitary District Board Members

In 2003 Montara, a small community near Half Moon Bay, was the first to succeed in a public buyout of a Cal Am water system. How did Montara accomplish this pioneering victory?

For years, residents of Montara paid some of the highest water rates in the state. They wanted relief. They wanted local control of their system.

First the community organized, developed a financing plan, and made an offer. In a show of community support they passed a $19 million bond measure by 82% to take control of their water system. In 2002 the district initiated condemnation proceedings against Cal-Am to buy their water system. Negotiations with Cal Am succeeded, making eminent domain proceedings unnecessary. 

Our guests will discuss the dynamics, the organizing, the resistance, and the final steps that led to success. They’ll share the details on the cost of purchase, the pattern of water rates before and after purchase, how the transition was handled, and current community opinions about public ownership. 

Montara won. Cal Am lost this David vs. Goliath battle.
Join us to hear Montara’s story of success and bring your friends!

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