Here's how Mesa Water District uses 100% local water

Officials said at the rate they're using this resource, they have 200 to 500 years of water supply.

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Friday, July 29, 2022
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A small grove of redwood trees in Costa Mesa pays tribute to the forest that once grew in the area, and hidden deep below is an invaluable water resource to the community.

COSTA MESA, Calif. (KABC) -- A small grove of redwood trees in Costa Mesa pays tribute to the forest that once grew in the area.

Hidden deep below is an invaluable water resource to the community.

"It's pure, pristine, it has no manmade influence in it, so it's the best source of water that we have," said Mesa Water District General Manager Paul Shoenberger.

The Mesa Water Reliability facility pumps up water that Shoenberger said dates back more than 12,000 years.

"So our wells are up to 1,000 feet deep and brings up this amber water, which helps us to be 100% local and reliable," Shoenberger said.

He added Mesa water is the only agency to completely self-reliant.

Shoenberger said local communities have access to a groundwater aquifer lying beneath Orange County but Mesa Water drilled down into a lower layer that allows them to also access a groundwater zone that has a little tint of redwood in it.

He called it "redwood tea" and said it can be used as is.

The facility filters out the redwood organics and tint from the water in about an hour.

"It comes out of the wells," said Shoenberger. "It will go through a sand filter and then a tight cloth cartridge filter and then finally through a very tight nano-filtration membrane."

In addition, he said this water makes up 25% of their all their local groundwater and is distributed to 110,000 residents in Costa Mesa, parts of Newport Beach and areas around John Wayne Airport.

Without it, Shoenberger said, the ongoing drought would have a bigger impact on their community.

"We would need to tap into the larger system that brings water in from the Colorado River and Northern California, which are great sources but they do have a much higher energy footprint," he said.

Shoenberger said at the rate they're using this resource, they have 200 to 500 years of water supply.

Mesa Water said 2022 marks 10 years since they became 100% local.

They encourage other cities and agencies to look at other resources that may be out there so they can do the same.