SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwired - May 9, 2013) - The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) today presented the prestigious Clair A. Hill Water Agency Award to Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) for its Los Vaqueros Reservoir expansion project.

The award was presented during the annual ACWA Spring Conference & Exhibition in Sacramento, where more than 1,500 local water officials are gathered through Friday for programs and panel discussions on a variety of key water issues. Contra Costa Water District was selected from among six finalists to receive the award.

"Contra Costa Water District is an outstanding example of a local agency implementing creative solutions to manage California's water resources," ACWA President Randy Record said. "CCWD ensured water supplies for its customers by making innovative and proactive decisions."

Facing unreliability in Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta water supplies, Contra Costa leaders devised a plan to expand the Los Vasqueros Reservoir from 100,000 to 160,000 acre feet. With cost-effectiveness in mind, CCWD decided that instead of constructing a new dam, they would build on an existing dam, allowing the reservoir to remain in service during construction. Nearly 90 percent of the materials used to raise the dam were mined from district property; these "borrow areas" were later turned into wetlands. The entire project was completed four months ahead of schedule and $11 million under budget.

ACWA's Clair A. Hill Water Agency Award for Excellence is an annual award program that recognizes outstanding achievements by public water agencies. The winning agency has the honor of awarding a $5,000 scholarship to a deserving student in the name of Clair A. Hill, founder of the consulting engineering firm CH2M Hill.

Other finalists for this year's award were:

  • City of Stockton Municipal Utilities Department, for its Delta Water Supply Project, a $220 million surface water treatment project that supplies residents and businesses with a supplemental water supply under the city's first-ever water right.
  • Mesa Water District, for its Mesa Water Reliability Facility Improvements Project, which meets customers' needs with less energy and greenhouse gas emissions while providing more aesthetically pleasing water than the district's previously amber-tinted water.
  • Mojave Water Agency, for its "Cash for Grass" program, which has offered the region's 450,000 residents the opportunity to remove turf and replace it with desert-smart landscaping; receiving cash in return.
  • Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, for its Low Impact Development Testing and Demonstration Facility, which conserves water and contributes to storm water capture and management, and showcases low impact design and techniques.
  • Walnut Valley Water District, for its Parker Canyon Recycled Water Reservoir project, which reduced the district's dependence on imported water with a 1.2 million underground reservoir that is virtually unseen from any angle and features a park-like setting on top.

ACWA is a statewide association of public agencies whose 440 members are responsible for about 90% of the water delivered in California. For more information, visit

Contact Information:

Lisa Lien-Mager
Director of Communications
or 530/902-3815 (cell)