Recycled Water Projects

Santa Margarita Water District (SMWD) is undertaking several Recycled Water Conversion Projects in order to increase the amount of recycled water used for local irrigation. By using more recycled water, the District will save precious imported drinking water (potable) for household consumption.

The District will build new recycled water distribution systems in several communities. These new distribution systems will be completely separate from the drinking water distribution system and used for irrigation only. Once all of the projects are completed, the District will save 758-938 million gallons of drinking water a year!

Why Recycled Water is so Important

Like most water districts in South Orange County, SMWD relies on imported water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta and the Colorado River to meet its customer demand.
To meet the current demand for irrigation of golf courses, parks and greenbelts, SMWD uses both recycled water produced by the District’s Water Treatment Plants and imported drinking water.
By expanding the recycled water distribution system, SMWD will increase recycled water usage which will significantly reduce dependence on imported potable water for irrigation. It will also reduce the amount of treated wastewater discharged into the ocean and enhance overall supply reliability.

Benefits of the Projects

Once completed, the project will:

  • Reduce dependence on imported water
  • Create a more self-reliant water system, particularly important in times of unplanned service interruptions such as drought and emergencies
  • Expand the delivery of recycled water for irrigation
  • Enhance local supplies and reliability by using water more than once
  • Reduce treated wastewater discharge to the ocean

Recycled Water Defined

Water recycling, also known as reclamation or reuse, is a reliable, economical and environmentally sensitive means to maximize California’s water resources and reduce the demand on freshwater systems. Recycled water is highly treated and purified wastewater that meets all the stringent standards set by state and federal regulatory agencies for nondrinking purposes.

Recycled water is safely and regularly used to irrigate public facilities, including school grounds, athletic fields, golf courses, parks and common areas of residential neighborhoods.

Safety of Recycled Water

All recycled water produced by SMWD for irrigation meets, or exceeds, the stringent water quality requirements for California as established by the State Water Quality Control Board and California Department of Public Health.

Califia Recycled Water Project

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