About Us

Providing High-Quality Services Since 1964

Santa Margarita Water District provides safe, reliable drinking water, recycled water and wastewater services to over 165,000 residents in eight unique communities: Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita and the communities of Coto de Caza, Las Flores, Ladera Ranch, Village of Sendero and Esencia, and Talega in San Clemente. The District is the second largest retail water agency in Orange County, by area, and third largest by customers served. 

One hundred percent of the District’s drinking water supply is imported from hundreds of miles away. Santa Margarita Water District is committed to developing local, reliable, sustainable, and cost-effective water supplies for today and generations to come. 

Strategic Goals: 

  • Recycle 100% of the District’s wastewater by the end of 2019
  • 30% of drinking water supply from local sources by 2030
  • 6 months of drinking water storage by 2030

Mission Statement

The Santa Margarita Water District provides our customers with quality water and wastewater service – maximizing human, environmental, and financial resources – to help guide South Orange County’s water and wastewater needs into the next century.

SMWD Statistics
62,674Acres within the District’s territory
170,000Residents SMWD serves
50,500Residential connections
2,250Commercial connections
1,400Potable Irrigation connections
1,500Recycled Water Irrigation connections
1,385Miles of water and sewer lines SMWD maintains
400Domestic water storage (in million gallons)
21Domestic pump stations
1.5Recycled water storage (in billion gallons)
14Recycled water pump stations
500Urban return flows collected annually (in million gallons)
9Average daily wastewater flows (in million gallons)
3Sewage treatment plants operated by SMWD
21Sewer lift stations

The Santa Margarita Water District (SMWD) was formed in 1964 as a landowner district (Section 35306 of the California Water Code) by a group of ranchers who wanted to create a reliable source of water for their cattle. The first neighborhoods of Mission Viejo had not been built yet, and SMWD provided water to more cows than people.