Mesa Water’s Community Roots Run Deep With 100+ Years Of Service

FeatureConsolidation law signing with the first-elected Board for our District (standing L-R): Charles Tewinkle, Prentice Thompson, Robert Unger, Mario Durante, Fred Wilson, and John Murdy with Governor Edmund G. “Pat” Brown (seated).

Many people point to this photo as the beginning of Mesa Water’s history. However, our roots can be traced back much further, to the founding of Costa Mesa and the community’s first wells. Here is an overview of the major milestones in our long history of serving the community.

Early Years - In 1891, our mostly rural community was named the town of Harper by its local rancher founder, Gregory Harper. Through the early 1900’s, the area’s water came from natural underground springs via artesian wells.

Water Flows - In 1910, the La Habra Valley Land and Water Company dug our area’s first well. In 1920, a local school teacher won the contest to rename Harper as Costa Mesa (“coastal tableland” in Spanish). By then, new local water agencies emerged: Fairview Farms Mutual Water Company (1913), Newport Heights Irrigation District (1918), and Newport Mesa Irrigation District. These agencies played a vital local government role by providing a public forum for discussing city business and community issues.

Community Grows - To serve the expanding community, new water agencies formed: Santa Ana Heights Water Company (1922), Fairview Farms Mutual Water Company became Fairview County Water District (1946), Newport Mesa Irrigation District became Newport Mesa County Water District (1954), and the newly-incorporated city created the City of Costa Mesa Water Department (1955).

Historical Merger - In 1959, California Governor Edmund Gerald “Pat” Brown, Sr. signed a law consolidating the City of Costa Mesa Water Department, Newport Mesa County Water District, Fairview County Water District, and Newport Heights Irrigation District to establish Costa Mesa County Water District—our District’s predecessor, founded January 1, 1960, as the State’s first water agency to consolidate two or more water agencies.

Modern Times - In 1978, our name was changed to Mesa Consolidated Water District, honoring our historical merger. In 2013, we simplified our name to Mesa Water District (Mesa Water®), where the public still gathers to address local issues just as we’ve done for over 100 years…a tradition we proudly uphold!