Tours and Education

Santa Margarita Water District offers public tours as part of our ongoing effort to educate the community on our local supply and the investments to secure a local, reliable and sustainable water supply for generations to come. Tours offer an opportunity for customers to see the “behind-the-scenes” aspects of the services that we provide, while allowing the District the opportunity to share important information about infrastructure, sustainability, water quality and more. 

Upcoming Tours 

Registration is required. All ages are welcome. Tours leave from Santa Margarita Water District headquarters unless otherwise noted. 

Tour Locations 

  • OC's largest recycled water reservoir, Trampas Canyon 
    • 1.6 billion gallons of recycled water for watering common areas
    • Completed in 2020
    • National award winning project 
  • Wastewater treatment plant, Chiquita Canyon located in Rancho Mission Viejo 
    • Capacity to treat 10-million gallon per day 
    • See wastewater go to treated recycled water
    • The plant treats wastewater from homes in the area and prepares it to be reused to irrigate parks, common areas and golf courses. The tour is a great opportunity to learn first-hand about:
      • What happens to the water after it goes down the drain
      • How wastewater gets travels from homes to the treatment plant
      • How water is treated to be used as recycled water
      • How to conserve water every day
  • Emergency Drinking Water Storage
    • 244-million gallons of emergency drinking water storage
    • Hidden in the hill south of the 241 tollway and Antonio Parkway  

Tour Guidelines 

The following guidelines must be adhered to if you want to participate in an SMWD tour:

  • Before signing up for a tour, be sure you are comfortable with riding in a bus for roughly 3 hours.
  • Closed toe shoes are required. 
  • Tours require a moderate level of exertion including walking on unpaved and uneven terrain, ascending and descending stairs, including boarding and exiting a bus with an 18-inch step, and standing/walking outdoors. 
  • Access to restroom facilities will be limited at some sites, so please plan accordingly.


All tour participants are required to agree to and sign SMWD's Hold Harmless during the registration process. A signed hold harmless is required prior to boarding the tour bus. 

How to Sign Up for Tours 

Connect with us on social media or receive email alerts about future tours or to access your subscriber preferences, please sign up to Stay Connected.

  • Subscribers will receive an email notification when tours become available. 
  • Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Participants must register online to secure a seat for the desired tour date.