California Water Service Names George Barber as District Manager for Chico Service Area

Pete Bonacich Retiring as District Manager After 36 Years of Service;Barber to Lead Both Chico and Oroville Districts

CHICO, Calif. — California Water Service (Cal Water) has selected its Oroville Manager George Barber to also lead the utility’s Chico District, effective this month. Barber, who has served as the Local Manager in Oroville since April 2017, succeeds District Manager Pete Bonacich, who will retire on April 1.

Before joining Cal Water in 2017, Barber spent 12 years as the general manager of Paradise Irrigation District and also served on the Butte County Water Commission. Barber holds his Professional Engineer license, Water Treatment Operator Grade 4 certification, and Water Distribution Operator Grade 3 certification from the state of California. He also has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from California State University, Chico.

"George has a proven record prior to joining Cal Water and is very familiar with Butte County water matters," added Mike Jones, Director of Cal Water’s Northern Field Operations. "George has been committed to serving the Oroville community well in his short tenure with Cal Water and will be just as valuable to the Chico community moving forward."

"George is a knowledgeable, savvy water system manager whose expertise and leadership skills will ensure Chico customers continue to have a reliable, high-quality water supply," Bonacich said. "I am looking forward to working with him during the transition and know that he will be a great asset for Chico."

Bonacich joined Cal Water’s Chico District in 1981, shortly after graduating from California State University, Chico. During his tenure, he served as an Operation Maintenance Worker, Serviceman, Superintendent, and Assistant District Manager. In 2015, he became the District Manager, where he has since overseen day-to-day operations and headed the district’s drought response efforts during the recent historic drought.

Cal Water serves about 104,000 people through 29,400 service connections in Chico and Hamilton City. The utility has provided water service in the area since 1926. Additional information may be obtained online at