BAWSCA is a special district created by the separate, but parallel, actions of 24 local government agencies in the Bay Area, as authorized by AB 2058, enacted by the California Legislature in 2002. Its governing board includes not only representatives from each of the 24 public agencies, but also from Stanford University and the California Water Service Company, both of which are long term wholesale purchasers of water from San Francisco.

A special district is an agency of the State formed pursuant to general law or special act for the local performance of governmental or proprietary functions within limited boundaries (Government Code Section 56036). The Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency is an “independent” special district because the members of its governing board are appointed for fixed terms (Government Code Section 56044).

The special district is a familiar California institution and one that has been part of our history since the 1880s. Other examples of multi-county independent special districts in the Bay Area are the Mid-Peninsula Open Space District (San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties) and the new San Francisco Bay Area Regional Water System Financing Authority created by SB 1870 (Alameda, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties).