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Posted on: March 30, 2021

New Infrastructure: Drinking Water Plant


In its ongoing effort to develop a sustainable and reliable local water supply, the Santa Margarita Water District is proposing 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.          

An existing pipeline will carry the water from existing groundwater wells to the plant. At first, the plant will supply about 260 million gallons of drinking water per year from treated groundwater. Treatment will include microfiltration, reverse osmosis, UV disinfection and chloramination, to meet all drinking water standards.

Ultimately, SMWD plans to recharge the San Juan groundwater basin with additional storm water and recycled water to bring the amount of water available for treatment up to 3 billion gallons per year; about 20 percent of the district’s drinking water supply.

Santa Margarita Water is constantly looking for innovative solutions to reduce its dependence on imported water.


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