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Taking Action

In response to our demand and the state’s limited resources, California has established higher conservation standards than that of the federal government. For instance, toilet manufacturers/retailers in California hoping to label their products as "high-efficiency" must meet a 1.28 gallon per flush requirement, as opposed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 1.6 gallon limit. California’s commitment to water conservation extends beyond manufacturers. The Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, in accordance with California Code, Title 23, and the State Water Resource Control Board, encourage all its cities and their citizens to reduce water consumption by 20% by the year 2020.

The City of Orange has voluntarily signed the Memorandum of Understanding regarding Urban Water Conservation in California through its participation in the California Urban Water Conservation Council (CUWCC), and has committed to a good faith effort in implementing 14 identified Best Management Practices to conserve water.

As of January 1, 2010, the City of Orange instituted the Water Efficient Landscapes: Guidelines to promote the use of water conserving landscaping and irrigation in new and rehabilitated landscapes through conservation in design, installation and maintenance. This State mandated requirement applies to new landscape areas equal to or greater than 2,500 square feet for:

  • Private, non-residential (commercial/industrial) projects and
  • Residential developers and property managers of single-family and multi-family projects or complexes.

In addition, they apply to new landscape areas equal to or greater than 5,000 square feet for installations by:

  • Individual homeowners of single-family or multi-family residential lots.

The new standards also direct rehabilitation projects greater than 2,500 square feet, representing at least 50% of the total landscape area, and planned to occur within one year. If your property has been registered a local, state or federal historic site (either inside or outside Old Towne Orange), it is not subject to the new guidelines. For more information, review the guidelines at the link above or contact the Planning Department.

The City has also begun addressing water efficiency at its own facilities with projects like retrofitting City Hall with waterless urinals, installing water efficient landscaping at the new Grijalva Park facility, and installing a smart "moisture sensing" irrigation system at El Camino Park. In addition, the City is revamping its landscape code to allow for the installation of high quality artificial turf.

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Water Rates

Basic water rates for the City of Orange are based on two charges: a fixed connection fee and a tiered rate structure usage fee. The tiered rate structure usage fee encourages City of Orange residents to conserve water by offering lower water rates to households that use less. Below are the 2008 and 2009 rate structures for each (excluding exception pricing, penalty fees and late service fees).

Please visit the City’s Water Rates page for more rate information.

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Rebate Program Success

Through a cooperative effort with Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) and local agency conservation programs over the past several years, the City of Orange has successfully supported and participated in the following water saving rebate programs. Visit our Residents and Business page for more information about current rebate and incentive programs.


Municipal Water District of Orange County, as of October 15, 2008.

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Storm Water Management Program

The City works vigorously to prevent pollution and public health risks and protect the viability of our natural environments through a number of water quality programs and measures. Every time it rains, everything that comes into contact with the rainwater has the potential to be carried into the storm drain system. Unlike the treated wastewater that is discharged a few miles offshore, our inland storm drains discharge urban runoff into creeks, rivers and the ocean untreated. That is why, it is important that we all do what we can to prevent trash, debris, oil, grease and all other pollutants resulting from human activities such as mowing, car washing, surface cleaning, and leaking vehicles from being carried into storm drains. The City has a strong storm drain protection and maintenance program in compliance with the federal Clean Water Act and state regulations in an effort to accomplish these goals.

Here are a few of our community’s critical storm water management programs, which help protect the region’s water quality and natural wildlife habitats.

The Street Sweeping and Channel Maintenance Program minimizes pollution in our regional water bodies by removing trash and debris build-up from public streets and City maintained waterways.

Routine Sewer Cleaning and Catch Basin Inspection and Cleaning are conducted in an effort to prevent overflows from either of the two seperate systems: helping to eliminate flooding from one and the health risk associated with sewer overflows from the other.

The City also educates and encourages community support for clean water through its Storm Drain Stenciling and Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program which aim to raise awareness of the impacts and prevent illegal dumping of any kind from polluting our community’s water resources.

To ensure your health and protect our community’s water resources, the City enforces the Water Quality Ordinance and conducts Commercial, Industrial and Construction Inspections. It also enforces the FOG Program with the goal of preventing sewer overflows resulting from improper use, storage or disposal of fats, oil and grease citywide. Failure to comply with these programs can result in penalties and fines.

For more information, to learn how you can help or report an incident, visit the City’s Storm Water Program site. To report a surface water quality concern or spill, please call (714) 532-6480 or Orange’s 24-hour hotline at (714) 538-1961.

The availability and protection of fresh water is critical to the continued health and progress of California. The City of Orange pledges to be a responsible California partner in the on-going water conservation and water quality efforts. Do your part for Orange and for California…BE WATER WISE!


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