A long-range study by the Orange County Water District will examine ground water supply and demand and other water issues facing the county through the year 2020, officials announced.
The study will investigate projected ground water demands, projected imported water supplies, the ground water basin's physical capacity, effects of conservation efforts, projected Santa Ana River flows, reclamation supplies and other factors.
District officials said they hope to answer several questions: How much water can be taken out of the county's vast ground water basin? What are the sources of future water supplies? Should new fees be charged to new users who want access to the ground water? Should new basin users be annexed?
Officials expect to complete the study by November. In a recent meeting, board members voted to continue a moratorium on annexations to the ground water basin until the results of the study can be examined.
As part of the study, a multilayered, geologic computer model of the ground water basin will be created. According to the district, the basin covers more that 365 square miles of surface area, is more than 4,000 feet deep in parts, and by current estimates contains about 10 million acre-feet of water.