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What is a Special District

What Makes Special Districts So Special

For over 100 years, local service agencies known as special districts have kept our lights on, kept the water flowing and provided access to a multitude of services that enhance our communities.

California’s Special Districts provide vital services like water and energy, fire protection and public safety, treatment of waste water, and garbage removal and much more. They safeguard our communities, they work arduously to keep our families healthy, and they help our state thrive.

Local Accountability

As the most local form of government, Special Districts are directly accountable to their voters and their ratepayer through:

  • Boards that are elected directly by the districts’ voters
  • Direct accountability to their voters and their ratepayers
  • Requirements to submit annual financial and compensation reports to the State Controller
  • Meeting requirements mandated by state laws pertaining to public meetings, bonded debt, record keeping, and elections


In addition to delivering crucial services, Special Districts oversee a wide array of public works projects including:

  • Road Maintenance and Street Lighting
  • Levee Repairs and Water Storage Systems
  • Water Treatment and Recycling Facilities
  • Harbors, Ports, and Airports


With over 2,000 Special Districts in California, these local agencies play a critical role in protecting our natural resources and the environment through:

  • Land Conservation
  • Water Recycling
  • Preserving Open Space
  • Renewable Energy Projects

Specialized Solutions

Special Districts are focused on improving the execution of these specialized services by:

  • Creating Alternative Fuels
  • Developing Water Conservation Technologies
  • Fostering Solutions for Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Supporting Technologies to Improve Efficiencies of Services

*Special thanks to CSDA for sharing this for the community.