In the 1960s and 70s, Brown County experienced an accelerated rate of growth which led to concerns about the ability of the groundwater aquifer to supply the long-term drinking water needs of the county’s municipalities.
These concerns led to Brown County commissioning a water study. Completed in 1976 by the engineering firm of Donohue & Associates, the findings reported that the St. Peters Sandstone Aquifer, which provides the water for all municipal wells in Brown County, would not be able to meet the long-term drinking water needs of the municipalities in the Green Bay area.
Subsequently, the "Brown County Planning Commission Potable Water Study Committee," comprised of municipalities within Brown County, was formed to investigate drinking water solutions for Brown County and recommend a course of action.
In 1992, a second independent water quality and quantity study was performed by the engineering firm Consoer Townsend & Associates. Its findings confirmed the results of the first study, concluding that groundwater cannot supply the long-term needs of the Green Bay area communities and recommended that a Lake Michigan water source be pursued.
In 1998, the Central Brown County Water Commission was created and introduced state legislation that allowed the formation of joint water authorities. With passage of that legislation, Wisconsin municipalities could now combine efforts to tackle water problems. The Central Brown County Water Commission was formally established under the new state law in 1999 as the Central Brown County Water Authority (CBCWA).
After reviewing various options for providing water to its member communities, the Authority decided to partner with the city of Manitowoc and Manitowoc Public Utilities (MPU) for its water supply. On July 20, 2004, a formal agreement was signed among the Authority, the city of Manitowoc and MPU.
Construction of the water distribution system, water transmission main, and increased microfiltration plant capacity started in July 2005 and was completed in August 2007.
The system provides its six member communities with quality water and has additional capacity to add new communities/customers to the Authority.
In 2014-15, two large water storage tanks were constructed in Ledgeview that add capacity to system and allow for better water flow and cost management.