District breaks ground to replace one of California's oldest reservoirs

The Yorba Linda Water District broke ground on a replacement for the 95-year-old Highland Reservoir -- one of the oldest water-storage facilities in California. The $11.2 million-project will be funded through long-term revenue bonds that sold quickly thanks to YLWD's recent AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor's, which has allowed the District to finance improvement projects at a much lower interest rate, saving customers hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of the loans...

• AAA credit rating allowing improvement projects like Highland to be financed at much lower rates, saving District customers hundreds of thousands of dollars

YORBA LINDA, CA, June 17, 2008 -- The Yorba Linda Water District broke ground this week on a replacement for the 95-year-old Highland Reservoir -- one of the oldest water-storage facilities in California. The $11.2 million-project will be funded through long-term revenue bonds that sold quickly thanks to YLWD's recent AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor's, which has allowed the District to finance improvement projects at a much lower interest rate, saving customers hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of the loans. YLWD is one of only three public agencies in the nation to receive the prestigious rating.

The Highland Reservoir was originally built in 1911 as an open-air reservoir and was eventually covered with a roof and surrounding enclosure walls in the late 1950s. The aging 4.6-million-gallon reservoir will be replaced with a 6 million-gallon underground reinforced concrete reservoir that will bring added supply reliability to the central portion of the YLWD service area and improve views for customers in the western portion of Yorba Linda. Construction is scheduled for completion by June 2010.

"Having sufficient water storage capacity is critical to ensuring a low-cost, reliable supply," said YLWD General Manager Michael Payne. "And our long-term commitment to fiscal conservatism is now paying dividends, as we'll be able to provide this capacity at a much lower cost thanks to the AAA rating."

Necessary tree removal and clearing began earlier this year in preparation for the groundbreaking. In the coming weeks, two temporary steel reservoir tanks will be placed at the site to hold the Highland water while the new reservoir is constructed. Once they are in place, work will begin to demolish and remove the existing reservoir and old pipelines, and remediate several abandoned oil wells that once operated on the site.

"The Highland Reservoir was YLWD's oldest storage facility, and successfully operated far beyond anyone's original expectations," Payne said. "We're confident its predecessor will live up to a similar standard far into the future."

The Yorba Linda Water District traces its roots back to 1909 and is one of Orange County's oldest utility companies, providing water and wastewater service to more than 75,000 residents in portions of Yorba Linda, Placentia, Anaheim, Brea and unincorporated Orange County.

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