- Customer Care
- San Juan Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano
On November 15, 2021, San Juan Capistrano residents and businesses officially became part of the Santa Margarita Water District (SMWD, District). After a highly competitive, multi-year process, the City of San Juan Capistrano (City) selected SMWD to provide water, wastewater, and recycled water services for 13,000 connections. SMWD has been providing high-quality, reliable service to customers for more than 50 years and is committed to delivering that same standard of excellence to San Juan Capistrano.
INVESTING IN OUR SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO
SMWD hit the ground running making immediate repairs and improvements to San Juan Capistrano’s water and sewer infrastructure system. Over the past year-and-a-half, SMWD has invested more than $5.6 million to make needed fixes to the city’s water and sewer pipes and pumps.
Improvements, repairs, and enhancements in San Juan Capistrano over the past year included:
- Cleaning 59 miles of the city’s sewer lines
- Repairing three major water line leaks
- Rebuilding the city’s water monitoring system
- Increasing the San Juan Groundwater Plant production by 20%
- Nearly completing the Riding Park recycled water conversion
- Expanding the city’s use of recycled water
- Implementing a systemwide preventative maintenance schedule
MORE INVESTMENTS IN OVER THE NEXT DECADE
But SMWD is just getting started. SMWD estimates that the District will save San Juan Capistrano ratepayers about $2 million annually due to agency efficiencies. However, due to the City’s “antiquated and historic” water and sewer infrastructure system, SMWD estimates more than $20 million will still be required to rehabilitate, repair and bring the system into the 21st century.
San Juan Capistrano water and sewer ratepayers have not seen a rate increase since 2018. Due to the capital expenditure required, the District is undergoing a “cost of service” study to analyze the most efficient and effective way to provide water and sewer service to SJC residents while protecting both the environment and our ratepayers’ pocketbook.
This rate study will include a public hearing and a transparent review and analysis. While it is critical to raise revenue to fund the cost increases and investment in the city’s water and sewer system, SMWD wants to ensure full and equitable cost recovery from all types of customers.
WHY ARE WATER AND SEWER COSTS GOING UP?
Inflation is impacting every facet of our lives and our water and sewer cost of service is no exception. Electrical power, chemicals, parts and equipment is all impacted by inflationary pressures.
Imported Water costs continue to rise. As the cost of water from Northern California and the Colorado River goes up, that increase is passed along to the customer.
Local Water Projects are being developed by SMWD and while there is some upfront investment, the capital costs are fixed and won’t escalate over time. Additionally, local reliable and sustainable water projects will provide us with more self-reliance so we are not as dependent on imported water as we are today.
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