Stop 4 – Moraga Creek: East Bay Water Supply Station
- Stop 4 is at the bridge where the Lafayette-Moraga Regional Trail crosses Moraga Creek to continue on the west side toward Valle Vista. The walking tour turns north on the east side to follow the trail. The trail continues south all the way to Valle Vista but has been blocked near the Canyon Road bridge since 2016 due to a landslide.
- The old Town Site failed to flourish for several reasons, chief among which was the 1930’s Depression which sidelined the residential development plans of the Moraga Ranch Company in favor of farming that went beyond ranching to include the cultivation of pears, walnuts, oats, hay and vegetables. Water supply problems also hindered development.
- Although Moraga Creek ran past the old Town Site, its seasonal nature made it unsuitable as a source of water which was supposed to come from a spring at the head of Moraga Valley where the Joaquin Moraga Adobe was located. The Moraga Water Company, controlled by the Moraga Company, built a 4 inch water main in 1914 from the JM Adobe spring to a tank reservoir that replaced the rose garden in the 2013 town site plan. The water supply, which also served the Valle Vista subdivision developed in the years before and after 1920, was extended in 1915 to serve Subdivision No. 9 between Larch and Camino Pablo. The water supply proved inadequate and was blamed for the failure of subdivision lots to sell.
- The East Bay Water Company (now EBMUD) in 1923 embarked on a plan to dam San Leandro Creek to create what is today the San Leandro Reservoir. This involved flooding the Redwood community farther south. Although the initial water level did not threaten the Valle Vista community, the water company, worried about drainage from Valle Vista, used the threat of eminent domain to gradually buy up and demolish all the homes during 1923-1927. Ironically, despite promises, no water was ever pumped from the San Leandro Reservoir to serve Moraga Valley.
- Today EBMUD supplies Moraga with water from the Sierra pumped via the Mokelumne Aqueduct that runs from Lafayette under the right of way formerly held by the Sacramento Northern Railroad.
- Moraga Creek is generally a tame waterway that turns into a torrent of water when an atmospheric river (a storm) occasionally passes through the Bay Area. At certain times of the year you may notice an enormous amount of water rushing from a large pipe on the eastern side of Moraga Creek next to the bridge. EBMUD pumps water into Moraga Creek in order to replenish San Leandro Reservoir whose water serves Alameda County.