The watershed consists of 19,300 acres of protected lands surrounding the Los Vaqueros Reservoir, which holds 160,000 acre-feet of stored drinking water. An expansion of the reservoir took place in 2011 & 2012. The reservoir expended from a maximum capacity of 100,000 acre-feet to 160,000 acre-feet. Recreational facilities at the South Entrance were relocated to higher ground. The project enables the Water District to pump high quality water from Old River in the Delta during wet months when salinity is low, then store it for use in the fall, when the Delta water quality is poor. The water is pumped from the Old River intake, then transported through several miles of pipeline to the reservoir, where it is stored.
The project’s primary purpose is to improve drinking water quality for 450,000 customers and the watershed is open to the public for recreation year round.
The watershed offers fishing, a boat rental marina, courtesy fishing docks, hiking and multi-use trails, picnic facilities, restrooms and three staging areas.
Los Vaqueros is a protected watershed environment that provides people with drinking water and numerous protected animal and plant species with a place to live. Because the reservoir stores drinking water, body contact sports (such as swimming) and personal watercraft are not allowed. Dogs are not allowed at Los Vaqueros Reservoir. Smoking is allowed only in designated smoking areas. Possession and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages is not allowed at Los Vaqueros Reservoir.
Los Vaqueros Watershed is a public facility operated for the Contra Costa Water District.