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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.

The writings of Don Juan Ortega on the Rancho Ortega Blog are the personal views of the author. This blog is not authored by nor does it have any affiliation whatsoever with any other person, place or entity using the name "Rancho Ortega" (or any similar name).

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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 [...]

SJC Councilman Larry Kramer Named to Lead San Juan Basin Authority

Some news regarding leadership changes at the San Juan Basin Authority, the local agency that manages a key component of the South Orange groundwater supply:

Capistrano Councilman Kramer to Lead Basin Authority with SMWD Director Olson

San Juan Capistrano City Councilman Larry Kramer on Tuesday was selected to lead the San [...]

SMWD Likely to Amend Swimming Pool Restrictions on October 17

Although no official action has been taken or announced yet, we have been told that the Santa Margarita Water District was sufficiently persuaded by the feedback it received that it will likely amend its Stage 2 drought mandatory water conservation measures to modify the swimming pool filling restrictions when the SMWD Board of Directors next [...]

LA Times Article Discusses Swimming Pool Restrictions and the Mathematics of Water Usage

The LA Times is the latest media outlet to pick up on the fact that water agency restrictions aimed at backyard swimming pools may not be necessary, or even effective, when you consider the long term water usages of pools compared to grass or landscaping. According to the LA Times article:

As California’s drought worsens, [...]

Santa Margarita Water District Invites Public Opinion on Swimming Pool Restrictions

Ready for more water news? We seem to be turning into a water blog here, but hey, that’s what happens when your local town is at the center of precedent-setting water rate litigation and your state is in the midst of a drought that ranks somewhere between “historic” and “catastrophic.”

So we recently wrote about [...]

Success of Carlsbad Desalination Plant of Interest to Santa Margarita Water District

After nearly a decade, Poseidon Water’s reverse osmosis desalination plant in Carlsbad is almost complete. Schedule to be operational next year, the Carlsbad plant will be California’s largest desalination facility and if successful, it will supply San Diego County with 50 million gallons of drinking water every day. In the midst of an historic drought, [...]

Local Golf Club at Center of New Water Rights Litigation

Water is a critical issue in Southern California, particularly during this historic drought. We’ve talked a lot about water on this blog, including recent articles about the Santa Margarita Water District’s mandatory water conservation policies and the Capistrano Taxpayers Association water rate litigation. We’ve received word that there is yet another legal battle over water [...]

SMWD Water Ban Gets National Attention and Scrutiny

Santa Margarita Water District’s recent mandatory water conservation rules are attracting national attention. In this Reuters wire service article, the SMWD’s requirements are described as follows:

The Santa Margarita District’s ban is among the strictest, prohibiting 165,000 residents from adding more than a foot of water to any swimming pool – even one that’s [...]

Santa Margarita Water District Directors Approve Conservation Measures

Last week we wrote an article about the Santa Margarita Water District’s plan to consider stricter, mandatory water conservation measures. As expected, the SMWD Board of Directors unanimously approved the measures. Below is a news release describing the steps taken in Orange County’s second largest water district:

While commending customers for dramatically cutting their water [...]

Santa Margarita Water District to Adopt Mandatory Water Conservation Measures Tonight

The Board of Directors of the Santa Margarita Water District will meet tonight to discuss, among other things, imposing mandatory water reductions on its service area. Back in 2009, the SMWD adopted a comprehensive water conservation program. That program identified four stages of water conservation depending on the severity of the drought. Stage 1 is [...]