5 Fast Facts About Water in Orange County
Water's a scarce commodity in SoCal these days. Here are a few basic facts about the precious liquid in OC.
This Has Happened Before
This isn't the region's first major drought. The Great Drought of 1864 came on the heels of massive floods earlier in the decade, and wrecked the area's large cattle industry. Some of the large ranchers then sold to real estate developers, whose work ultimately gave rise to most OC cities—surviving on water imported from elsewhere.
SoCal's a Desert, Learn to Live With It
Even during "normal years," OC gets only about 13 inches of rainfall a year. This is a desert, after all. It takes (at minimum) about 48 inches of water a year to sustain turf grass.
Turf's Going Out of Style
The demand for turf removal rebates from the Municipal Water District of Orange County was 10 applications a month in early 2014. As of April 2015, the rate was 1,450 applications a month. (Shown: a xeriscape, or low-water garden.)
The Five Top Water Users in the County
The largest water bills in the county in 2014, beginning with No. 1: Disneyland, The Irvine Co, the City of Yorba Linda, and two large HOAs in Ladera Ranch and Rancho Santa Margarita.
The Irvine Co's Water Conservation Efforts
The Irvine Co says it saves 7 million gallons of water a year at its office properties just by using recycled water in toilets; and 113 million gallons/year at its retail properties through a variety of water control technologies. (Pictured: the Irvine Spectrum)