Moulton Niguel Water District Celebrates 50 Years of Water Recycling

Moulton Niguel Water District is celebrating its 50th year of operating one of the state’s most successful water recycling programs, which reuses more than 2 billion gallons of water every year.

As one of the first agencies to use recycled water in Orange County in the early 1960s, Moulton Niguel Water District now provides recycled water to more than 1,300 customers. Collectively, the District uses 7 million gallons of recycled water every day to irrigate landscapes at parks, recreational facilities, golf courses, street medians, and more. Every drop of recycled water that is used is a drop of drinking water that doesn’t have to be imported from hundreds of miles away.

“Our District could fill 3,900 Olympic-sized swimming pools with recycled water,” explains Moulton Niguel Water District President Donald Froelich. “Our recycled water program has been instrumental in creating a sustainable water supply for our customers.”

Recycled water meets about 25 percent of the District’s overall water demands. Without recycled water sources, customers would need to use drinking water for all outdoor water uses, which comes at a higher cost.

“Moulton Niguel Water District’s recycled water program has conserved billions of gallons of water and helped thousands of customers save money,” said Director Larry Lizotte, who has served on Moulton Niguel Board of Directors for nearly half a century. “Over the years, especially during periods of drought, customers have really become appreciative of their opportunity to buy recycled water from us. Recycled water also reduces our dependence on imported water and provides our customers with reliable access to water.”

Moulton Niguel Water District’s Recycled Water Infrastructure

Moulton Niguel Water District’s recycled water customer pioneers, El Niguel Country Club and Mission Viejo Country Club, began their first full year of recycled water use in 1968. Over the years, both facilities have also invested in modern irrigation systems and planted California native landscaping to reduce their water needs.

“We’re grateful to Moulton Niguel Water District for its leadership then and its ongoing commitment to customer service and regional reliability. We’re proud of our long-standing partnership focused on responsible management of this valuable resource,” said Kimberly Wood, El Niguel Country Club’s general manager.

The District’s recycled water system has expanded substantially over the past half century, and now consists of approximately 150 miles of recycled water distribution pipelines. To serve its 1,300 recycled water customers, Moulton Niguel Water District also maintains 13 recycled water pump stations, six steel storage tanks, five pre‐stressed concrete reservoirs and two advanced wastewater treatment facilities.

Planning for the Future: Recycled Water Optimization Plan

Moulton Niguel Water District plans to expand its recycled water distribution system with the implementation of a recycled water optimization plan. The District offers a recycled water retrofit rebate as an incentive to encourage recycled water use. Additionally, the District has partnered with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to help customers in its service area access additional financial incentives for recycled water use through its On-Site Retrofit Program.

“Our District will continue to reinvest ratepayer dollars right back into maintaining and enhancing our community’s water infrastructure,” said Moulton Niguel Water District Board Vice President Brian Probolsky. “Recycled water improves our water reliability for all our customers during both wet and drought years.”

Throughout the year, Moulton Niguel Water District plans to recognize its recycled water customers and partners for their role in making the community more self-reliant.

Moulton Niguel Water District’s Recycled Water by the Numbers:

  • 50 years of recycled water use
  • 1,367 customers
  • 150 miles of “purple pipe”
  • 7 million gallons used daily
  • 25% of total water demand
  • 19 pressure reducing stations
  • 13 recycled water pump stations
  • 11 reservoirs and storage tanks
  • 2 advanced wastewater treatment facilities

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