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December 2012
Subscribe to Your Water - Metropolitan's E-Newsletter.

City of Torrance 100 Years


In 1910, Jared Sidney Torrance, developed a plan for model industrial and workingman's city. He and his associates bought several thousand acres of Rancho Dominguez and introduced the Union Tool Company, Llewellyn Iron Works, Pacific Electric Railway, and other industrial firms to the area. Torrance formally became a city in 1912.

This was a special year for the city of Torrance as it celebrated its Centennial birthday. The Centennial was both an opportunity for the city to look back at its rich history as well as a chance to look forward to a positive future.

In 1912, the Dominguez Land Company formed the Torrance Water, Light and Power Company to provide water service to the expanding area, which was later incorporated as the city of Torrance in 1921. The company was sold to the Pacific Water Company of San Mateo in 1928, which operated the water system until 1934 when the city of Torrance acquired the water system, now known as Torrance Municipal Water (TMW). The municipal water system grew as the city expanded by a series of annexations in the 1920's through the 1950's that ultimately increased Torrance's size by tenfold, to nearly 21 square miles.


Torrance business, the International-Stacey Corporation of California with the first structural bridge units for the Hoover Dam.

In 1931, the city became a charter member agency of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which constructed the aqueduct that brought Colorado River water to Southern California. That same year, a Torrance business, the International-Stacey Corporation of California, provided the first structural bridge units for a flood control project that would prevent damage to downstream farming communities on the Colorado River that suffered each year when snow runoff from the Rocky Mountains swelled the river. Today, we know the completed project as the Hoover Dam, the second highest dam in the country.


North Torrance Reservoir

Today, Torrance Municipal Water serves approximately 110,000 residents and business customers covering 80 percent of the city. The department is responsible for water resource management and conservation, the monitoring and maintenance of water quality, preventive and predicative maintenance, the operation and repair of the water system, the replacement and upgrading of water infrastructure, long range planning, and interfacing with outside agencies, including the Metropolitan Water District, other water and regulatory agencies, the California Department of Public Health and other agencies regarding water matters.


Torrance Beach

Currently, Torrance Municipal Water delivers approximately 26,500 acre feet of water annually (8.6 billion gallons), consisting of approximately 20,000 acre feet of drinking water and 6,500 acre feet of recycled water for industrial and landscape irrigation use. In a partnership with the Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD), TMW operates a groundwater desalination facility (Goldsworthy Desalter) that currently meets 10% of drinking water demands. Studies are underway to double the plant's capacity.

TMW maintains and repairs 320 miles of distribution pipelines, 7,500 valves, 2,800 fire hydrants, 26,600 service connections and replaces 3.5 miles of deteriorated pipeline annually. In addition, TMW responds to emergencies and water outages on a 7-day, 24-hour basis and is responsible for conducting more than 2,500 water quality tests annually as part of a comprehensive water quality program. As a result of a tri-party partnership agreement, Torrance also supplies the ExxonMobil Oil Refinery located in Torrance with approximately 6,500 acre-feet of recycled water annually, which represents two-thirds of the refinery's demand.

Major projects completed or in process include the replacement of more than 50 miles of water mains, distribution system improvements, a series of new wells and a groundwater production site, the rehabilitation and upgrading of existing facilities and further automation of operations. With its Urban Water Management Plan, Torrance Municipal Water is halfway to meeting the 20 percent conservation goal to comply with California's 2009 Water Conservation Act.


Torrance's reverse osmosis water treatment plant which boosts the city supply of drinking water.

Recycled water provided by the West Basin Municipal Water District's Edward Little Water Recycling Plant is a major water supply source for the city and currently represents nearly 25 percent of TMW's total annual water requirements. By the end of 2013, approximately 40 landscape irrigation customers will have completed or will be in the process of being converted to reclaimed supplies. The conversion to recycled water in the affected areas and at the ExxonMobil Refinery increases available drinking water equivalent to the annual usage of nearly 20,000 families.

Continually moving forward, Torrance is implementing a multi-year $40 million capital improvement program (CIP) to enhance reliability, upgrade facilities, diversify supply sources and lower long term operating costs. A major focus of the CIP program is water supply diversification which will help develop a balanced portfolio of local and imported water supplies.

To learn more about the city of Torrance's Water Services please visit www.TorranceCA.Gov/1846.htm.

This article was provided by the city of Torrance.


The Department is responsible for water resource management and conservation, water quality, maintenance, repair, replacement and upgrades. They also interface with the MWD, State Health Department and other agencies regarding water matters.

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Los Angeles, CA 90012