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Posted on: August 19, 2021

Unanimous Approval to Provide Water and Wastewater Service to San Juan Capistrano


RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, CA – Today the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission (OC LAFCO) voted unanimously to approve the Santa Margarita Water District (SMWD) annexation of the San Juan Capistrano water and wastewater facilities. The approval concludes a six-year public process that affirmed SMWD’s ability to assume the City of San Juan Capistrano’s water and wastewater services in an effective and efficient way.

San Juan Capistrano residents are expected to be a part of the SMWD family later this fall, after the required waiting period. “We are committed to enhancing water supply reliability, investing in the aging wastewater system, and providing superior customer care to the residents of San Juan Capistrano,” said Chuck Gibson, President of the SMWD Board of Directors.

OC LAFCO conducted a detailed municipal services review over the last several months. They noted that “the transfer would result in enhanced efficiency and more cost-effective delivery of these services to the (City of San Juan Capistrano) ratepayers,” and that “the transfer of the systems and operations to SMWD will result in improved water supply reliability, completion of capital improvement projects that support upgrades and long-term maintenance of the systems, and rate stability for the utility customers.”

“The economies of scale and the expertise in water and wastewater that SMWD brings to San Juan Capistrano will be a boon to our residents and we’re grateful that OC LAFCO approved the annexation today,” said San Juan Capistrano Mayor John Taylor.

In February 2019, following discussions with three water districts and receiving input from many City stakeholders, residents and business owners, the San Juan Capistrano City Council voted unanimously to negotiate exclusively with SMWD.  In 2020, SMWD and the City entered into an annexation agreement and SMWD filed an annexation application with OC LAFCO. 


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