Santa Margarita Water District Breaks Ground on New Recycled Water Reservoir by Jim Leach Feb 22, 2018 RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, CALIF. (February 22, 2017) – The Santa Margarita Water District (“SMWD”) hosted a groundbreaking for its new 5,000 acre foot Trampas Canyon Recycled Water Reservoir in south Orange County. The SMWD Board of Directors approved the $123 million project in November, 2017. The new reservoir will enable SMWD to collect and store up to sixty percent of the treated water from its Chiquita Water Reclamation Plant doubling the District’s overall recycled storage capacity and ensuring greater year-round water reliability throughout the District’s service area. It will be the largest surface reservoir constructed in south Orange County in the past twenty years. The costs of the project will be paid utilizing a combination of Proposition 1 State grant funds, a low-interest State loan through the State Water Resources Control Board and future Community Facilities Districts (CFDs) assessments. According to the District, the new reservoir will allow SMWD to store much of its treated recycled water during the cooler months of the year for use during the Spring and Summer months when demand is high. The new reservoir will help the District reach its goals for water recycling and reuse and will provide for the development of new recycled water uses and the reduction of dependence on imported water. Earlier this year, the SMWD Board finalized its agreement with Rancho Mission Viejo LLC (The Ranch), owners of the historic 23,000-acre Rancho Mission Viejo cattle ranch, habitat reserve and master planned community, for the land where the reservoir will be constructed. The site is located southeast of the intersection of Antonio Parkway and Ortega Highway in unincorporated Orange County adjacent to an existing industrial sands enterprise.