In 1983, a small group of northwest Forestville residents, with the strong support of many neighbors tired of the nearly-undrinkable and unreliable water provided for decades by a private-for-profit water company, petitioned the county and state governments to form a public benefit district and to secure the necessary financing for what is today the Russian River County Water District.
The effort required rebuilding the entire water system, including the drilling of new wells, construction of pumping, disinfection and storage facilities and the engineering and installation of 15 miles of pipeline and fire hydrants beneath the narrow, serpentine hillside roads that characterize the district.
Beyond higher-quality and more-reliable water, fire protection has improved dramatically, with lower homeowners’ insurance premiums being one welcome result.
Initially serving 850 households, the district has gradually grown as pockets of residents previously served by other small private or mutual water systems were annexed into the district. Today, the district supplies clean, high-quality water both for household use and for fire protection to slightly over 1,200 households.