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Rancho Ortega Blog discusses matters of public interest in South Orange County, including the communities of San Juan Capistrano, Ladera Ranch and Rancho Mission Viejo.

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Santa Margarita Water District Begins Phase 2 Construction of Canada Gobernadora Multipurpose Basin

Due to (among other reasons) the severity of the California drought and as a result of following the debate over San Juan Capistrano’s groundwater plant, we’ve been getting more involved in water-related issues here at the Rancho Ortega Blog. One water agency we are following closely is the Santa Margarita Water District.  The Santa Margarita Water District is the second-largest water agency in Orange County, serving more than 165,000 people in Coto de Caza, Ladera Ranch, Rancho Santa Margarita, Mission Viejo and San Clemente.  One of SMWD’s mandates is to reduce our dependency on water imported from the Colorado River and Northern California.  To that end, the completion of the multi-purpose basin at Canada Gobernadora will serve the dual purposes of environmental protection and capturing urban run-off in Gobernadora Creek for re-use, freeing up more expensive drinking water for residential uses, so this announcement that SMWD is beginning Phase 2 construction of the basin is good news for water-watchers.  The full press release is below:

Construction Begins on Phase 2 of Multi-Purpose Basin in Santa Margarita Water District

Construction of the lower section of the Canada Gobernadora Multipurpose Basin south of Coto de Caza is getting underway, with the entire Santa Margarita Water District project on schedule to be complete in June.

The completed project will capture and naturally treat urban runoff and storm flows, and use that water to help meet irrigation demands in Coto de Caza.

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 in Coto de Caza.

Located along the 8.5 mile Gobernadora Creek, a major tributary to San Juan Creek, the Gobernadora Basin will rely on an inflatable barrier to intercept a significant portion of the Gobernadora Creek flow for storm detention and treatment of urban runoff.

The project will reduce downstream erosion and sedimentation of the Gobernadora Creek and improve water quality.  An estimated 350 to 750 acre-feet of water are expected to be captured by the project each year. An acre-foot of water is enough to meet the needs of two families for a year, so capturing the run off in Gobernadora Creek frees up more expensive drinking water for residential and other similar uses.

The project is one of several under construction or in planning that are key to SMWD’s goal of reducing its dependence on water imported from the Colorado River and Northern California.

Gobernadora is the fourth runoff detention system built by SMWD. The project cost $22 million, but SMWD received $7.5 million in grants to help offset the cost.

More information about Santa Margarita Water District is available here.

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