Water Limited in Orange County, Calif., During Plant Construction

March 21, 2007

Residents and businesses throughout Orange County, Calif., have been asked to aggressively reduce their water use while a major regional water treatment plant undergoes upgrades during a week-long shutdown beginning Sunday, March 25.

Officials from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Municipal Water District of Orange County joined local water agencies in making the water-saving request as Metropolitan prepares for the planned shutdown of its Robert B. Diemer Water Treatment Plant, located in Yorba Linda, through Saturday, March 31.

Metropolitan’s Diemer plant is the primary source of imported treated drinking water to communities served by MWDOC, as well as the cities of Anaheim, Fullerton and Santa Ana. The plant provides about 95 percent of south Orange County’s potable water needs via two regional water pipelines.

“Although some water agencies in south Orange County will institute mandatory restrictions during this shutdown, most agencies in north Orange County will have groundwater supplies to call upon to meet retail demands,” said Debra C. Man, Metropolitan’s chief operating officer. “As a precaution, however, we’re asking all consumers in the region to voluntarily conserve water whenever and wherever possible.”

To minimize impacts on consumers, Metropolitan routinely schedules operational shutdowns of its water-treatment facilities during the winter months, when temperatures are typically cooler and demands are lower.

According to Kevin P. Hunt, general manager of the Municipal Water District of Orange County, curtailing landscape irrigation, which consumes approximately 60 percent of all water used in Orange County, is perhaps the easiest way to conserve throughout the week. Other outdoor water-saving practices include sweeping down driveways and walkways.

The Diemer plant shutdown is part of $155 million in construction under way at the facility to improve the plant’s treatment processes and modify chemical handling capabilities, said Eddie Rigdon, Metropolitan’s water system operations manager. Projects include site work and relocation of existing facilities in preparation for adding a new ozone disinfection system. Work at the plant is expected to continue through 2011.

MWDOC’s Hunt said voluntary water conservation by consumers, combined with activation of system interconnections between water agencies, will offer added safeguards to help ensure that residents and businesses have adequate water during the shutdown. The cooperating agencies, however, stand prepared to intensify the conservation request should locally stored supplies dwindle during the outage.

Source: Municipal Water District of Orange County

Image by Burnham RNG, courtesy twentytwo & brand.