After extensive research and consultation with historical preservation experts, Cal Water announced today that it will preserve and maintain two elevated water storage tanks listed on the City of Chico's historic registry. The now-empty tanks, located at East Third and Orient streets, were constructed in 1905 and 1913.
"As a regulated water utility, we cannot ask our ratepayers to fund infrastructure that is no longer used. However, understanding the significance of these tanks to Chico residents, we worked with the Chico Heritage Association to find a way to preserve the two oldest tanks, which we will do at our own cost," said District Manager George Barber. "This is just part of our commitment to enhancing the quality of life in the communities we serve."
At the urging of the Chico Heritage Association, Cal Water has agreed to consult the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Historic Preservation as guidelines to be incorporated into its ongoing maintenance plan for the two water tanks.
“We thank the Chico Heritage Association for its diligence in helping to identify cost-saving measures that would enable us to retain the tanks,” Barber said.
Two additional elevated tanks that were constructed in the mid-1900s will be decommissioned, allowing resources to be dedicated to the two historic tanks. Cal Water will make a $5,000 charitable contribution to the Chico Heritage Association; the association will use the funds to pay for the professional documentation and recordation of the newer tanks. This donation will be paid for through the company's philanthropic giving program, not from ratepayer funds.
“It has been a pleasure working this past year with Cal Water,” said Mike Magliari, Chico Heritage Association member and professor of history at California State University, Chico. “We at Chico Heritage commend Cal Water for recognizing the historical significance of the Orient Street water towers and for their willingness to carefully consider various strategies for preserving these iconic landmarks that are so highly prized by the people of Chico. Cal Water's decision to invest in Chico's history should be welcomed by the entire community.”
Cal Water will host a community celebration this fall to commemorate the tanks. Details of the event will be released in the near future.