History of Olivenhain Municipal Water District

The Legacy of the Land

The land now served by OMWD was once home to three Native American cultures: the San Dieguito, La Jollan and Diegueño. Each tribe existed during a different time and was distinct from the others.

In the early 1800s, the area now defined as Olivenhain was part of the territory of Mexico. In 1842, the government of Mexico granted Rancho Los Encinitos to Andreas Ybarra who built an adobe house, the remains of which still stand near Stagecoach Park in Carlsbad.

On a tract of land called Rancho Las Encinitas, 25 families started the colony of Olivenhain in 1884. This small party of 67 German settlers began the community that is OMWD’s namesake, which is of German origin meaning “olive grove,” and is pronounced Oh-Lee-Ven-Hine. Some of today’s area residents are descendants of the original colonists.

The gradual decline of farming activity during the 1950s and the importation of water to Southern California slowly transformed the Olivenhain area into a residential community.