Lake Mission Viejo reducing water usage in drought

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. (KABC) -- Surrounded by multi-million dollar homes, Lake Mission Viejo was built in the 1970s for recreation. About 80,000 people from more than 24,000 homes pay more than $200 a year for access.

"It's the centerpiece for Mission Viejo," resident Cheryl Holzek said.

"It's peaceful. It's nice. You can't really find too many places like this around here," resident Andy Buehler said.

But the lake loses about 88 million gallons of drinkable water a year to evaporation - the ninth largest water user in the Santa Margarita Water District. In the midst of a drought, that is a concern.

The Santa Margarita Water District is working with the Lake Mission Viejo Association on reducing water usage, a spokesman said.

The association says its bylaws require it to maintain fishing in the lake and swimming. It's looking at other options to keep the lake filled, but still conserve water.

"We're looking at landscaping conversion. We're looking to convert a lot of our turf grass areas to drought-tolerant plants," said Kevin Frabotta of Lake Mission Viejo Association.

The association is also considering offsetting the amount of water it uses in the lake by paying to convert projects elsewhere to recycled water.

"It's made us look at a variety of ideas and be very creative. Our goal is to keep water in the lake, so that our members can continue to enjoy the lake," Frabotta said.

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