Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mesa Water District (Mesa Water®)?

Mesa Water is an independent special district providing one single focused service to our customers – 100% local, reliable, clean, safe water. 

Who runs Mesa Water?

Mesa Water is governed by a publicly-elected, five-member Board of Directors who live in our customers’ neighborhoods. They set policy and provide oversight of District operations. Directors are elected by division, serve a four-year term, and represent the District on internal committees and external agencies to ensure that customers receive reliable, affordable and safe water. Mesa Water has 55 employees who manage all aspects of the District’s operations – including maintenance of wells, pipelines and reservoirs, water quality, customer services, finance and more.

What is Mesa Water’s service area?

Mesa Water’s service area is an 18-square-mile area that includes most of Costa Mesa, a portion of Newport Beach, and some unincorporated areas of Orange County, including John Wayne Airport.

Who does Mesa Water serve?

Mesa Water serves water to businesses and 110,000 residents.

How does Mesa Water ensure safe drinking water?

Mesa Water provides safe drinking water and conducts over 30,000 water quality tests annually to ensure our water meets rigorous state and federal drinking water standards. Mesa Water provides high-quality water that meets all drinking water regulations. 

What are the sources of water that Mesa Water provides?

Mesa Water has an abundant supply of high-quality water from a blend of local groundwater sources. Mesa Water uses groundwater that is pumped from the Orange County Groundwater Basin (Basin) via Mesa Water’s nine groundwater wells. The Basin is replenished with water from the Groundwater Replenishment System managed by the Orange County Water District (OCWD). OCWD provides 85% of the water served by Mesa Water, and the Mesa Water Reliability Facility (MWRF) provides the rest. The MWRF can serve up to 50% of our community’s water needs, if needed. 

What is the Mesa Water Reliability Facility?
The Mesa Water Reliability Facility features two deep-water wells and a one-million-gallon reservoir. The wells pump raw water from approximately 1,000 feet underground. While the water is soft and meets all water quality standards, it contains an amber color from ancient Redwood trees that decomposed in the deep aquifer. A nanofiltration technology treatment process removes the organic color while sand separators and other filters remove inorganic materials. Chloramines disinfect the water before leaving the MWRF. The water then moves into the onsite reservoir before being pumped into the Mesa Water distribution system.
How does Mesa Water ensure a reliable water supply?

Mesa Water perpetually invests in its infrastructure to ensure water reliability. Mesa Water is committed to the investment in, and proactive maintenance of, our infrastructure, which pumps, treats and delivers more than five billion gallons of high-quality drinking water to residential and business customers each year. Mesa Water’s water system has less than 4.5 percent water loss from breaks or leaks, placing Mesa Water among the most efficient and reliable water systems in North America. Mesa Water’s investments in maintenance protect customers from rate volatility because proactive maintenance is less costly than emergency repairs.

Is Mesa Water’s supply affected by the dry seasons?

Mesa Water’s 100% local, reliable water supply is drought-resilient and not reliant on imported water that can be more subject to restrictions. All of the water that customers use inside their home or business is captured and recycled by the Groundwater Replenishment System, which continuously recharges the Orange County Groundwater Basin. This visionary water purification project ensures drought resiliency.

Do we need to conserve water?

Mesa Water has an abundant supply of water due to long-term investments in water sources and infrastructure, so that water is available when and where our customers need it. Between the Orange County Water District’s (OCWD) expert management of the Orange County Groundwater Basin (Basin) and the Groundwater Replenishment System, which helps refill the Basin – along with the Mesa Water Reliability Facility, our customers always have several years’ supply of 100% local, reliable, clean, safe, groundwater in storage. Using water efficiently is a way of life and an important responsibility that comes along with the benefits of living in a Mediterranean-like climate that residents in the Mesa Water service area enjoy. Outdoors is where customers use the most water, so efficient outdoor water use is where customers can make the greatest impact because it is difficult to capture and recycle outdoor water use. Whereas all of the water Mesa Water customers use indoors is recycled.

How does Mesa Water set rates?
As a public agency, Mesa Water’s rate-setting is regulated by state law. Proposition 218 of the California Constitution states that a water agency can only charge for the cost to procure, treat and deliver water to the customer, and the amount of water delivered to the customer is documented at the customer’s water meter. Mesa Water cannot charge rates that result in a profit. Three main components are factored into the water rates:
  1. Commodity (water usage) rate – the price per unit of water based on the amount of water used. 
  2. Fixed bimonthly basic (meter) charge – based on the size of the customer’s water meter. In the past, the average single-family home typically required a 5/8" meter. Presently, to support fire sprinklers, which the state requires for all newly-constructed and significantly-reconstructed or remodeled homes, the typical meter size is now 1”.
  3. Capital charge – these fixed charges are based on the operation, maintenance, repair and rehabilitation of the water system, and on Debt Service Principal and interest payments due per fiscal year. The capital charge is based on the customer’s meter size and is collected by way of the property owner’s annual property tax bill.
What is Mesa Water doing to ensure fiscal responsibility?

Thanks to sound financial planning and healthy reserves managed by the Mesa Water Board of Directors, Mesa Water is financially strong. Mesa Water consistently receives a AAA credit rating — the highest achievable by an organization — from Standard & Poor’s and Fitch credit rating agencies. This allows Mesa Water to borrow money at lower rates for capital improvements. The coveted ratings reflect Mesa Water’s excellent operational effectiveness and financial management practices. It is one of the most efficient water agencies in Orange County, based on lowest expenditures per capita, and has no unfunded pension liability. Mesa Water’s fiscally responsible and financially strong practices protect customers from rate volatility.