Gobernadora Multipurpose Basin

The Cañada Gobernadora Multipurpose Basin project (“Gobernadora Basin”) is located within an unincorporated portion of southeastern Orange County, just south of the community of Coto de Caza.   The basin captures and naturally treats urban runoff and storm flows, and uses the urban return flows to help meet irrigation demands in the nearby community.   

The Gobernadora Basin project consists of a storm detention basin and a natural treatment system, a system to capture and divert flows to the wetlands, a pump station, and a pipeline to deliver flows to the Portola Reservoir, a recycled water reservoir located in Coto de Caza.  The District is also connecting the Gobernadora transmission system to the Chiquita Water Reclamation Plant to deliver recycled water to the Portola Reservoir.

Located along the 8.5 mile Gobernadora Creek, a major tributary to San Juan Creek, the Gobernadora basins intercept a significant portion of the Gobernadora Creek flow for storm detention and treatment of urban runoff.  This reduces downstream erosion and sedimentation of the Gobernadora Creek and improves water quality. 



The Gobernadora Basins accomplish several things:

  • Reduces downstream erosion and sedimentation of Gobernadora Creek, a major tributary of San Juan Creek.
  • Enhances local water supplies by capturing urban flows for outdoor irrigation use, decreasing the need for irrigating with imported, potable water.
  • Improves the water quality in the Gobernadora Creek, which flows downstream to the Gobernadora Ecological Restoration Area (GERA).


  • The Gobernadora Basin is the fourth urban water capture basin located within the SMWD service area.
  • Other basins within the District include the Horno Basin in Ladera Ranch, Upper Oso Creek Barrier in Mission Viejo, and Bell Canyon Project near Dove Canyon. 
  • Located in unincorporated southern Orange County, the Gobernadora Basin comprises approximately 35 acres.