Mesa Water District building 2 wells that will generate 11M gallons of drinking water daily

Senior civil engineer Karyn Igar, left, and Mesa Water Board President Marice DePasquale.
Senior civil engineer Karyn Igar, left, and Mesa Water Board President Marice DePasquale, stand Monday at one of two new potable water wells being built in Santa Ana.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

As California’s drought wears on, Mesa Water District is taking steps to ensure customers can enjoy fresh, reliable drinking water on demand — and two new wells being built will increase that local supply significantly in the coming months.

Funded by a $1.6-million grant from the state’s Department of Water Resources, two potable water wells under construction in Santa Ana should be completed by next summer, officials say.

Two facilities, on Croddy Way and Chandler Avenue, are anticipated to bring in up to 11 million gallons of fresh drinking water daily, adding to the 5 billion gallons already generated by the district’s seven existing wells.

Mesa Water Board President Marice H. DePasquale says the district is rare in that 100% of its water is local. The two new wells, which will bring the total to nine, will help ensure the reliability of that more sustainable supply.

Mesa Water District's Croddy Way well extends 850 feet underground to a natural aquifer.
Mesa Water District’s Croddy Way well in Santa Ana extends 850 feet underground, where it can tap into fresh groundwater inside a natural aquifer, and features a sounding tube and camera port for access.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

“We don’t pay to transport water, we pump it out of the ground and deliver it straight to people’s faucets — it makes our carbon footprint considerably smaller,” she said Monday during a tour of the Croddy Way facility. “Adding these two wells to our system allows us to stay 100% local, reliable and safe.”

On an industrial lot, acquired by Mesa Water in 2017, a concrete box with pipes and access points on top marks the well head, which reaches 850 feet down into a natural aquifer.

Karyn Igar, a senior civil engineer for the district, explained the site was purchased specifically because of its position to the local water source. Because most wells remain operational anywhere from 60 to 100 years, district officials have eyed a second spot on the site where a well might continue to access the aquifer.

“This would be a 200-year decision,” Igar said of the acquisition. “We wanted to use the site in a way that would be an ideal site for now and also the next generation.”

A construction site in Santa Ana provides details on one of two new drinking water wells being built by Mesa Water District.
(Sara Cardine)

After demolishing an existing structure last year, a construction team began the underground infrastructure that would support the well and the disinfection facility that is also to be built on the property.

Once the work is completed, a team will test the water quality and examine the worthiness of the structure, Igar said. If all goes well, Mesa Water’s 110,000 customers in Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and unincorporated Orange County could be drinking the new water by June.

Mesa Water spokeswoman Celeste Carillo said district employees are excited by the new additions.

“We’re in a unique area where if we needed to, we could import,” she added. “But we don’t — that’s what sets us apart from other districts and systems.”

DePasquale says keeping resources local helps ratepayers save.

“We’re so proud of being 100% local and plan to stay that way,” she said. “Our carbon footprint is smaller than anyone else who delivers water in this region because we are 100% local.”

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