The original Fresno water system began in 1876 as a nonprofit organization established by a group of public-minded citizens. Initially, the water system consisted of one pumping station, composed of small pumps and two storage tanks located above the second floor of one of an early building, located on Fresno Street between “J” and “K” Streets, presently known as Broadway and Fulton.
By the late 1880’s, the town had grown into a small city in need of an improved water distribution system, so in 1888, the first pumping station and water tower of a permanent nature were constructed at Fresno and “O” Streets. These facilities were designed to be an integral part of a larger and continually expanding water system. This first station was in continuous use until 1959, when it was retired, having served its usef ul purpose. Today, this building, which has since been declared a historical structure, is widely known throughout Fresno as the “Water Tower”.
In 1926, the plant and distribution system was purchased by the California Water Service Company. In 1931, the company sold the water syst em to the City of Fresno, which operated as a municipal utility. It was first managed under an appointed water board, and is currently a Division of the Public Utilities Department.