Mesa Water to Seek Voter Input on Possible Consolidation with Costa Mesa Sanitary District

Non-Binding Advisory Vote of Public Would Help Guide Process

Costa Mesa, Calif. – At its July 28 meeting, the Mesa Water District Board of Directors adopted resolutions to place a non-binding advisory measure on the November 8 General Election ballot to gauge the level of public support for consolidating Mesa Water District and Costa Mesa Sanitary District (CMSD). A recent Optimal Governance Structure Study by Arcadis U.S., Inc. shows that combining Mesa Water and CMSD could significantly benefit customers with reduced costs for the same or better service levels while also maintaining a strong AAA rating and local representation.

“The study shows that combining Mesa Water District and Costa Mesa Sanitary District could result in significant cost savings that could be passed on to our customers,” said Mesa Water Board President Shawn Dewane. “The next step is to ask our voting public if they would support consolidating Mesa Water and CMSD to reduce the size and costs of local government.”

Registered voters served by Mesa Water and CMSD will consider this question on the November 8 ballot:

Shall the Mesa Water District and the Costa Mesa Sanitary District pursue consolidation if it could result in a one-time savings of up to $15.6 million, which equates to $650 per ratepayer, annual savings of as much as $2.7 million, which includes wastewater rate reductions of up to 28% as identified in the Optimal Governance Structure Study prepared by Arcadis U.S. Inc.?

In addition to the Mesa Water Board’s discussion of the initiative, public comments were made by CMSD representatives, local ratepayers and others, including a support letter from the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce endorsing consolidation of the districts. Board discussion focused on the advisory measure and the study’s recommended consolidation as an option that would allow Mesa Water and CMSD to more economically, effectively and efficiently provide water, sewer and trash collection services.

The study shows that combining the districts could benefit ratepayers with:

  • A one-time, up-front cost savings of approximately $15.6 million that could be provided as an immediate $650 rebate to each customer;
  • Additional annual cost savings of $2.7 million that could reduce customers’ wastewater fees by approximately 28%; and,
  • The potential for increased flexibility, transparency and improved customer service.

If voters approve the measure this November, it would provide the districts with a clear indication of the level of customer support for consolidation. The vote itself would not automatically result in a consolidation of the districts. Rather, if pursued, that process would require additional actions by Mesa Water and CMSD, as well as the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO).

For more information about Mesa Water’s Special Districts Shared Efficiencies project, visit or call 949.631.1201.


About Mesa Water

Founded on January 1, 1960, and governed by a publicly-elected, five-member Board of Directors, Mesa Water is an independent special district that provides water service to 110,000 residents in an 18-square-mile service area that includes most of Costa Mesa, a portion of Newport Beach, and John Wayne Airport. Mesa Water provides 100 percent local reliable groundwater to its customers due to the Mesa Water Reliability Facility. Visit, follow @MesaWater on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, email, or call 949.631.1200 to learn more.