Municipal Water Disrict of Orange County
ISSUE 7, VOLUME 8, August 2014
Message to Our Readers

California is in a serious drought. This is not new information, but the severity of the drought has increased, and in some parts of California the situation is dire.

Back in January, Governor Brown declared a drought State of Emergency and asked all Californians to reduce their water use by 20%. Recently, it was reported that water use has increased rather than decreased. In response to the drought and increasing demand, the State Water Resources Control Board recently passed a resolution and new regulations that have received widespread media attention. The most widely discussed portion of the regulations refers to enforcement and fines of up to $500. These new regulations went into effect on August 1, 2014.

Like most things in life, there is more to the story than just sensationalized headlines. The Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) is working with our 28 member agencies to coordinate regional drought outreach and customer notification efforts. At this time, water agencies are planning to notify their customers when they are out of compliance, rather than immediately issuing fines. We hope this notification process provides a helpful service in identifying areas where water efficiency can be improved.

To make sure you're complying with all applicable regulations, check with your local water agency to find out what additional local water restrictions are in effect in your area. To locate your retail water provider, please visit this page:

Just the Facts

By Rob Hunter, MWDOC

There are some important things you need to know about the drought. 2013 was the driest year on record in California. On average, Orange County gets just 13 inches of rain a year, but that is not nearly enough to sustain our economy or our lifestyle. About half of the water used every day in Orange County  homes and businesses comes from other areas: Colorado River (via the Colorado River Aqueduct) and Northern California (via the State Water Project). When there is less rain and snow in other parts of the state as well as the southwest, there is less water to move to Southern California to meet our needs.

Although water continues to come out of the tap without disruption, the supply is not limitless, so we must all do our part to reduce our daily water use. Several water conservation activities are now mandatory per the
State Water Resources Control Board regulations, which went into effect on August 1, 2014. Here's what you need to know:
  • Outdoor water restrictions will be enforced. Check with your local water retailer for specific instructions. If you don't receive a water bill and want to find out who your local water provider is, you can view our map at
  • Washing down driveways and sidewalks is prohibited. The regulation makes an exception for health and safety circumstances.
  • Watering outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes runoff is not allowed. In Orange County, preventing runoff when watering your lawn or garden is an ongoing mandatory restriction. The new regulation does not change that. 

MWDOC's Drought Response

By Darcy Burke, MWDOC

The Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) is charged with planning and coordinating imported water supplies in Orange County. This task includes planning for future water demands, preparing for droughts, responding to water-related emergencies, and working with our member agencies to ensure a safe and reliable supply of water at a reasonable price.

If you live or work in Orange County, you can see that we live in a semi-arid region, which means we don't get a lot of rain. To compensate for this, MWDOC works with our member agencies to develop a water system that meets the needs of a thirsty and growing region. 

Our long-term planning efforts include projects that provide new water, water storage, and comprehensive studies on how to improve our water efficiency. These coordinated plans take years to develop.  But when we are in a drought, or when our imported water supplies have been restricted due to pumping restrictions (as it was in 2008), we see the benefit of our planning efforts and the investments we've made in alternate methods of meeting demands.



You Can Help!

A message from MWDOC Staff and Directors


Since the early 1990's, Orange County has distinguished itself as a leader in water use efficiency. MWDOC tracks the water savings associated with all of our water use efficiency programs, and in the past 25 years Orange County customers have saved enough water to provide for almost 70,000 families for a year. That's a lot of water!

This was accomplished with your help and support - not fines or water police. MWDOC and our member agencies know that when we ask for your help in reducing the amount of water we use each day, and to make sure we don't waste it, you respond. The drought we are in is serious and we all need to do our part. The following list of tips is just a reminder of ways we can make every drop count:

  • Check for and fix leaks as soon as you see them.
  • Shorten the time you water your lawn or garden and water fewer days each week. Check with your local water provider for specific restrictions or instructions.
  • If you see a leak or excess runoff in your neighborhood, let your neighbor know or contact your local water provider.
  • Thinking about making changes to your landscape or indoor water using devices? Check our website first for information on rebates available in your area:
  • Have you done everything you could? GREAT! Get your home certified as a Water Smart Home. Check out this link for information on how to apply:

On behalf of the MWDOC Board of Directors and staff, thank you for your help saving every drop and not wasting this precious resource. We're all in this together. 


Board of Directors
MWDOC Board of Directors
Calendar of Events

August 13 @ 8:30 am:
Administration & Finance Committee Meeting  
August 20 @ 8:30 am:
Board Meeting

August 21 @ 8:30 am:

Committee Meeting

September 2
@ 8:30 am:

Planning & Operations Committee Meeting

September 3 @ 8:30 am:
Workshop Board Meeting

September 15 @ 8:30 am:  
Public Affairs & Legislation Committee Meeting  
For information on MWDOC meetings and events, please click on the calendar icon, above.


Water Policy Dinner photos and video are available now!
Many thanks to the more than 250 water industry leaders who attended our July 30th Water Policy Forum & Dinner! Event photos and video are available online now.

Event photos/video >>

Save the Date: October 2nd

Save the date for our next Water Policy Forum & Dinner featuring guest speaker John Coleman, President of the Association of California Water Agencies! The event will take place Thursday, October 2, 2014.

Drought Infographics
About the California Drought 
Download, print and share this helpful infographic.


What does a 20% reduction in water use look like?
It's easy to conserve water once you understand how you can reduce your use.


Popular Tweets & Posts
"One of the new mandatory regulations adopted by the CA State Water Resources Control Board prohibits washing down driveways and sidewalks with potable water. 15 minutes = 100 gallons, multiplied by all the residents in the state! One simple adjustment will save CA nearly 4 billion gallons of water each time!"

"Prohibiting excess outdoor watering that results in runoff is 1 of 4 new reg's adopted by CA to ensure increased .
Municipal Water District of Orange County
Phone: (714) 963-3058 | Fax: (714) 964-9389 | 

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