Municipal Water District of Orange County Acts Quickly to Ensure Water Conserved Locally Stays Local

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Fountain Valley, CA (October 8, 2015) – Water conserved by county residents will stay in the county, thanks to a unanimous action recently by directors of the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC).

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) reduced Orange County’s allocation of water from the Colorado River and Northern California by 15 percent because of the historic drought. But Orange County residents cut their water use by even more than the MWD allocation, saving an additional 8.7 billion gallons of water.

MWDOC water managers could have left that water – enough for 67,500 families – outside Orange County, but instead called for it to be delivered to Orange County. The MWDOC Board of Directors voted to transfer the water to the Orange County Water District (OCWD), which manages the county’s the vast groundwater basin that provides most of northern and central Orange County’s drinking water. Water in the basin is also available to southern Orange County in an emergency.

Directors decided to move 17,000 acre feet – an acre foot of water is enough to supply 2.5 families with drinking water for a year – of the saved water into the Orange County basin, and hold 10,000 acre feet in reserve in case conservation efforts fail for the remainder of the fiscal year.

MWDOC water managers acted quickly to ensure the water will reach Orange County’s water basin before the predicted El Niño storms, which are expected to fill the percolating basins OCWD uses to allow water to soak into the aquifer.

Another additional benefit: purchasing the water instead of leaving it elsewhere in the MWD system helps keep MWD’s water sales at projections, which stabilizes the rates agencies pay the regional water supplier.

The Municipal Water District of Orange County is a wholesale water supplier and resource planning agency. MWDOC’s service area covers all of Orange County, with the exception of the cities of Anaheim, Fullerton and Santa Ana. We serve Orange County through 28 retail water agencies.