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What’s the Squeeze?

Fresh water is perhaps the most important resource on the planet. It is a key building block of all life as we know it. For instance, did you know the human body is up to 60% water? Each day we must replace an average of 2.4 liters of water through food and drink. Did you also know you’re living in a drought? In June 2008, California’s Governor proclaimed a statewide drought for the first time since 1991. During the last winter (07-08), California rainfall totaled a paltry 1. 2 inches, only 22% of the State’s average for the last 44 years, since records began. Fresh, potable (drinking) water is becoming a scarce resource in your state and especially in the Southern California Region, where water reserves have gradually worsened over the years. You can help!















Million Acre Feet. Metropolitan
Water District of Southern California


National Weather Service

Our nation’s water supply is made up of a combination of freshwater and saline water from surface, groundwater sources. In California, 70% of our water supply is surface water (65% freshwater and 35% saline) while 30% is from groundwater (98% freshwater). In 2000, California led the nation in water use, withdrawing almost 11% of the US fresh water supply, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Put another way, our state used an overwhelming 18% of the nation’s supply of ground water and 17% of surface water. However, California’s great irony is that approximately 75% of the State’s drinking water is located in Northern California, while approximately 75% of the people are located in Southern California.

In the City of Orange in 2007, total water consumption for all sectors was approximately 10,506,700,000 gallons per year or 29 million gallons of water on an average day. Residential uses (single and multi family) accounted for 65% (or 6,869. 9 mil. gal.) of the water use, with commercial uses accounting for 31%. In 2007, the average single-family household in Orange used 205,954 gallons of water or 564 gallons per day. With the exception of the industrial sector, water consumption has increased for all sectors from 2006 to 2007. Clearly, we can all make a difference.

As part of the City’s Public Works Department, the Water Division manages and supplies water to residents and businesses through 450 miles of pipeline, 15 water wells, 8 connections to imported water supply, 18 water reservoirs with a storage capacity of over 42 million gallons, 16 pumping stations, and 34,000 service connections. The City of Orange water supply is made up of 66 to 80% groundwater and the remainder as surface water. Surface water is purchased and imported from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), which gets its water from the Colorado River Aqueduct and the State Water Project. Some local water from the Santiago Creek runoff and Irvine Lake is purchased from the Serrano Water District. Groundwater is pumped from the Lower Santa Ana Basin aquifer, underlying Orange County. The groundwater aquifer is managed by the Orange County Water District (OCWD), and is replenished through percolation of water into recharge basins and creeks. Santiago Creek and the "Bond Pits" in Orange are two facilities used by OCWD for groundwater recharge. For your health and safety, our drinking water quality is routinely tested 32 times per week in Orange’s state-accredited lab.






















U.S. Geological Survey


Other includes: Fire and municipal
services, parks and any other uses
not explicitly mentioned above.
Public Works Water Division.


Public Works Water Division


Other includes: Fire and municipal
services, parks and any other uses
not explicitly mentioned above.
Public Works Water Division.


Public Works Water Division

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Water Rates

Basic water rates for the City of Orange are based on two charges: a fixed connection fee and a tiered rate structure usage fee. The tiered rate structure usage fee encourages City of Orange residents to conserve water by offering lower water rates to households that use less. Below are the 2008 and 2009 rate structures for each (excluding exception pricing, penalty fees and late service fees). Please visit the City’s Water Rates page for more rate information.


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The Value of Water!

We all know how to use it, but do we really understand the value of water? With nearly 34 million people and an arid climate, it’s no wonder California is amidst a water crisis. Ironically, many of us waste water on a daily basis – literally, flushing it down the toilet! The USGS estimates that the average person in the nation uses about 80-100 gallons of fresh water per day. Single-family residents of Orange averaged approximately 166 gallons in 2007. Yikes!!! A shocking 60% of residential water consumption is used to irrigate landscaping outdoors, while the remaining 40% is used indoors. The largest use of water indoors is for flushing toilets. The clothes washer places a close second, followed by bath and shower water. An unattended, constant, little leak in the toilet can waste around 22 gallons per day or 8,000 gallons per year. If you have a leaky, household water line, which drips 1 gallon every 10 minutes, you are losing (and paying for) 144 gallons per day or 52,560 gallons per year. Don’t misunderstand, we want you to shower, but ask yourself: What can you do to help save water?


California Urban Water Conservation Council

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