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Posted on: September 13, 2018

Ready to Respond in an Emergency

Upper Chiquita Reservoir

One of the Santa Margarita Water District’s primary responsibilities is to deliver safe drinking water to its 165,000 residents each day of the year. With 100% of the area’s drinking water being imported from hundreds of miles away, extra precautions are taken to ensure water reliability in the event of an emergency. Preparedness efforts include multifaceted plans, projects, tasks, trainings, and planning, including:

Emergency Water Storage & Distribution 

The District continues to work towards its strategic goal to ensure six months of storage by 2030. Today, the District has roughly three months of drinking water storage for residents. One of the major challenges to reaching the six-month supply is lack of storage – water storage requires costly infrastructure like reservoirs and pipelines. The District remains devoted to finding innovative, cost-effective solutions.

The Upper Chiquita Reservoir is a 244-million-gallon reservoir that will supply water to hundreds of thousands of people for one week in the event of an emergency. The reservoir’s entire facility encompasses approximately 27 acres just north of Oso Parkway near the 241 Toll Road in the unincorporated area between Coto de Caza and Las Flores.

Emergency Response Plan & Employee Training

Santa Margarita Water District adopts an Emergency Response Plan to guide the District’s response to extraordinary situations associated with large-scale natural disasters and technological incidents. As part of this plan, employees are trained in disaster response procedures on an annual basis. Many employees receive on-the-job training each week on various subjects to help keep them and our customers safe.


The District has a comprehensive system that monitors over one-hundred facilities and alerts staff immediately if there is a loss of integrity with the system.

Customer steps to be prepared

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