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The Trampas Canyon Dam and Reservoir Project is the recipient of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Orange County Branch 2020 Outstanding Geotechnical Project Award.

Located just south of Rancho Mission Viejo, Trampas is OC's largest recycled water reservoir with the capacity to hold 1.6 billion gallons. This new infrastructure helps SMWD store all of its recycled water rather than sending it to the ocean. This water may one day become a local source of drinking water for the region.  

Take a virtual tour of the Trampas Canyon Dam & Reservoir

Major Pipeline Repair Coming in April
No Planned Service Interruptions
Beginning on April 4 through May 10, our wholesaler, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California will begin a major repair of the 60-inch pipeline that delivers a majority of water to the region. While the District does not plan on there being service interruptions during the 37-day repair project, we are asking all customers to use water extra wisely and to be prepared for voluntary reductions throughout the project.
Santa Margarita Water’s drinking water demand during this project will be roughly 720 million gallons. You may ask, "where will our water come from while the main pipeline is out of commission for 37 days”?   The short answer is, Santa Margarita Water has been planning and investing in local, reliable and sustainable water supplies and infrastructure for decades for times just like this. Read on...
Ongoing Dry Conditions in Most of California 
Early Efforts Help Minimize Impact
After two years of low precipitation, the U.S. Drought Monitor reports that 95 percent of California is experiencing Moderate to Exceptional Drought. Orange County is in Moderate Drought.
The State's Reservoir and groundwater levels are significantly below average, and despite recent storms, the snowpack is only 58 percent of average as of March 10, 2021. Continued dry conditions can threaten water supplies, impair critical habitat, reduce recreational opportunities, and create uncertainty for all water users. Hydrologic conditions since 2020 have been very similar to the drought years of 2014 and 2015.
Santa Margarita Water continues to closely monitor drought conditions. 

Your ongoing efforts to use water wisely will help minimize the potential impacts. Here are two actions to get started: 

New Drinking Water Filtration Plant Proposed
The Project Would Provide a Much-Needed Local Source

In its ongoing effort to develop a sustainable and reliable local water supply, the Santa Margarita Water is proposing the construction of its first drinking water treatment plant. The Ranch Water Filtration Plant will treat groundwater from the San Juan Basin to supply some 260 million gallons of drinking water per year to customers.

The new plant will provide a local source of drinking water. Right now, the District imports all of its drinking water from hundreds of miles away; from northern California and the Colorado River. This water is at risk from drought, natural disasters, and regulatory constraints.

The Ranch Water Filtration Plant will be located near the intersection of Ortega Highway and Antonio Parkway adjacent to the Chiquita Water Reclamation Plant. The new treatment plant is estimated to cost roughly $10 million to build and is planned to begin its first phase of operation in 15 to 18 months.  Read on... 

The SMWD Water Use Efficiency team is here to help connect you with beautiful low water use plants for your home garden. The SMWD Spring Garden Hotline is open from April 1 through May 31. Leave us a message at (949) 459-6593, or drop us an email at with your climate-friendly gardening questions.  

If you're are looking for garden inspiration, check out our very own This online planting resource is a powerful plant finder, connecting you with plants suitable for all of southern Orange County. You can view garden galleries, create personalized plant lists, organize plants based on watering needs, and much more.  

Join us for a virtual workshop about composting basics on Wednesday, April 21 from 10-11 AM. Visit our WaterWorks Garen Soil Health Matters Exhibit, learn the basics about backyard and worm composting, and chat live with our Water Use Efficiency team. Register today for this free class. 

Composting Basics
April 21 from 10-11 AM
Register Today
Ron Johnson: A Problem-Solver
Last year, Ron Johnson marked a quarter century working for Santa Margarita Water District. The milestone nearly matches another significant achievement in his life—his sobriety.
Those two achievements coupled with a well-earned reputation for embracing challenges inspire many who work with Johnson, including SMWD General Manager Dan Ferons. “Ron is one of my heroes, he is smart, humble and a great person to work with,” Ferons said.

Originally from Tampa, Florida, Johnson began working for SMWD in 1995 as an operator-in-training (OIT) at the Oso Creek Water Reclamation Plant. Though he had worked as a chemical engineer for about ten years following his graduation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a substance use problem had brought him low. He wanted to hit reset, even if it meant starting from the bottom all over again. And so it began when he received the OIT job assignment through the rehabilitation facility where he was working through the steps of recovery.

Read on...
April 7 at 5:30 PM
April 23 at 7:30 AM

Agendas & details available online
This Women's History month, we celebrate the historical contributions of the many women who have boldly shaped our community and our region. 
Women have played and continue to play critical roles in every sphere of life throughout our nation's history. However, their stories are often overlooked and undervalued. Honoring their stories and accomplishments is essential, and that is why the District's Board of Directors opened its March meeting commemorating Women's History Month and women's vital role locally and regionally.
As I look back on my career, I see clearly the influence of women. When I was young, my mother encouraged me to enter into public service, and my childhood friend's mother, Teena Clifton, showed me how through her career as a civic activist who was one of the first female city managers in California. Below, I spotlight four women who have had a lasting impact on our community and our region’s quest for a reliable water supply.

Read on...
SMWD is your partner in finding leaks. Celebrate Fix a Leak Week by finding and fixing common household leaks.

In 2020, we invested $13.3 million in infrastructure maintenance and continue to work on our Capital Replacement Program to ensure a reliable system. Let’s all do our part and look for leaks. 
Keep your eyes on the mailbox for your leak detection kit (pictured to the right). 
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Santa Margarita Water District · 26111 Antonio Parkway · Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688 · USA