Liquid News

The City of Lake Forest Honored as Key Partner in Service

Former Los Alisos Water District Became Part of IRWD

The Irvine Ranch Water District Board of Directors honored the City of Lake Forest at its August 22 meeting for being a part of the District's 50 years of history. The city has three different water districts that serve its residents.

"When IRWD consolidated with the Los Alisos Water District in 2001, the collaborative relationship was carried on," said Interim General Manager Paul Cook.

The city's motto is "Remember the past, challenge the future." This motto ties in appropriately with the IRWD 50th Anniversary efforts. Lake Forest ensures its rich heritage of the past is preserved and enhanced in this contemporary city - ready to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future. The city was incorporated in 1991.

Under the provisions of California Water District law, the Los Alisos Water District was formed by ranchers and land owners in 1960 over most of the Spanish land grant area of Ranch Canada de Los Alisos. The new district was formed primarily to obtain imported water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California through the recently formed Orange County Municipal Water District.

In 1961, LAWD, in collaboration with the El Toro Water District, created the Santiago Aqueduct Commission, a joint powers agency that financed and built the V.P. Baker Pipeline. Completed in 1962, the new pipeline extended from the Santiago Lateral of MWD southwest approximately 15 miles. The population within LAWD at this time was less than 300. In 1963, LAWD began construction of sewer collection and treatment facilities.

By December 2000, the population had grown to approximately 43,000 and was served by a domestic water system that included 144 miles of pipe and eight reservoirs with a combined storage of 60 million gallons. Sewer service was provided by a 106-mile sewer collection system, one sewer lift station and a secondary sewage tratment facility with a capacity of 7.5 million gallons per day. Tertiary treatment facilities of 5.5 million gallons per day provided recycled water through 21 miles of pipe and five reservoirs with 15 million gallons of storage capacity.

In early 2000, LAWD entered into discussions with IRWD regarding potential consolidation. The primary goal was to improve water reliability in the LAWD service area, which at the time received two thirds of its water supply from Metropolitan. The two districts merged January 1, 2001, following approval by the Local Agency Formation Commission.

In 2006, IRWD constructed an intertie project to tie the service area into our domestic system. Since then, IRWD has also drilled wells, rehabilitated wells and conducted a sewer rehabilitation project.  Soon we’ll be starting the Baker Water Treatment Plant project. This regional project will be built at the existing Baker Filtration Plant site in the City of Lake Forest. The project is intended to provide increased water supply reliability to south Orange County by increasing local treatment capability for multiple water supply sources, including imported water and local surface water from Irvine Lake. It will also help provide a reliable local potable water supply in the event of emergency conditions or scheduled maintenance on the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California's (MWD) delivery system (Diemer Filtration Plant, Lower Feeder Pipeline or Allen-McColloch Pipeline) and increase operational flexibility by creating redundancy with the water conveyance system. Project partners include IRWD, El Toro Water District, Mouton Niguel Water District, Santa Margarita Water District and Trabuco Canyon Water District.

The City of Lake Forest has been a great partner to Irvine Ranch Water District in all endeavors.  Both of our organizations have grown together throughout the years and the growth of the community.

Lake Forest Mayor Peter Herzog, holding plaque, is flanked from left by IRWD Board Member Peer Swan, Board President Steve LaMar, Board Member Mary Aileen Matheis, former Los Alisos Water District Board Member James Reed, Interim General Manager Paul Cook, and Board Members Doug Reinhart and John Withers.

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