Drinking Water

Santa Margarita Water District provides more than 6 billion gallons of drinking water a year to a population of 160,000 residents. For 50+ years the District has placed the utmost importance on its role in delivering safe drinking water. The District operates its own laboratory in order to ensure that its drinking water meets or surpasses all federal and state regulations.

How does SMWD get its drinking water?

Santa Margarita Water District is a member of the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC), which wholesales water within Orange County and is a member of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD). 

Currently, the District delivers drinking water provided from two treatment plants: 

  • Robert B. Diemer Treatment Plant 
    • Located in Yorba Linda and operated by MWD 
    • Typically fed with a blend of State Water Project and Colorado River Aqueduct water depending on regional conditions 
  • Baker Water Treatment Plant 
    • Located in Lake Forest and operated by Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD) 
    • Fed by the Colorado River Aqueduct 
      • Can be operated with Irvine Lake as a water source in case of an emergency

The treated drinking water is sent through large transmission pipelines and then into the SMWD distribution system where it is delivered to your home. 

What is the Colorado River Aqueduct?

The Colorado River Aqueduct is a 242 mile long aqueduct built in the 1930's by MWD. It conveys water from the Colorado River at Lake Havasu across the desert to Southern California. If water is available in the region, it can pump more than 400 billion gallons of water to Southern California. 

What is the State Water Project?

The State Water Project is a series of aqueducts that stretches more than 700 miles. It conveys water from Northern California to Central and Southern California. If water is available in the region, it typically pumps 800 millions of water. California Water Fix is a major initiative which is underway to increase the reliability of this important resource.

Domestic Water, By the Numbers

The District's Drinking Water System: 

  • 56,000 drinking water connections
  • Average annual demand of 6.5 billion gallons 
  • 600+ miles of distribution pipeline
  • 30 reservoirs
  • 2 emergency storage reservoirs
  • 400 million gallons of storage capacity
  • 21 pump stations