By Janet Zagoria
In 1980, the water systems located just west of Mirabel Road, at the time known as Rio Del and Russian River Terrace, were contaminated, unreliable (often no water on hot days and/or when summer home owners were in their vacation homes) and were irresponsibly run by the Downey family. Due to the urging of an older neighbor who was sick of the problems, I called a meeting to discuss what we could do.
At that meeting was Hal Wood who I didn’t know and at that time was the manager of the Windsor Water District (and an Engineer), came to that meeting. If it hadn’t been for Hal, our water district, the Russian River County Water District (RRCWD), may never have been bought from the Downeys and financed by the County, State and Federal governments to rebuild the system.
Hal also started a new business named Russian River Utility (RRU) at which RRCWD was its first district to manage. Hal stuck with the development of the district – all the thorny parts needed to maneuver through the government channels. Several other smaller districts adjacent to the original districts have annexed over the years. Now RRU manages over 20 water and sewer districts.
RRCWD spans from Mirabel Road, down River Road, over the Hacienda Bridge and up in those hills. (If you want to see if you are in the district, go here.)
Our water is considered one of the safest in the country and has been since it was rebuilt.
Hal retired a few years back but still lives in Forestville and remains in good spirits. His legacy lives on, not only with RRU, but through his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren many of whom live and are contributing community members of Forestville.
Next time you take a glass of tap water or give your children a bath, you can thank Hal Wood, a true Hometown Hero.