While no one knows when California’s next drought will occur or how long it will last, residents of The Irvine Ranch can be certain of one thing: The local water situation is much stronger than most communities in Southern California.
This fact is a direct result of long-range community master planning. In fact, since its founding more than 150 years ago, the Irvine Company has conserved water by all means available. Over the past several decades, the company has worked closely with local water officials and community leaders on innovative water conservation infrastructure and public-education programs that have positioned The Irvine Ranch as a national leader in the efficient use – and notably, reuse – of water.
Efforts Ensure Continued Community & Economic Growth
In a region notorious for its fickle hit-and-miss rain cycles, these efforts provide local residents with the rare assurance that their communities will have sufficient water supplies to continue important long-term community and economic growth.
The benefits and importance of the Irvine Company’s thoughtful master-planned approach to water use cannot be overstated. A safe, strong and reliable supply of water – supported by an aggressive commitment to recycling it by all means available – is essential to the area’s future growth, prosperity and acclaim.
150+ Years of Using Water Wisely
The old adage, Every drop counts, rings truer today than ever before – and it has guided the Irvine Company’s approach to water conservation for more than a century and a half.
Like all of its conservation and environmental stewardship efforts on The Irvine Ranch, the Irvine Company’s success at conserving water is the product of collaborative efforts involving diverse interests, including Irvine Ranch Water District, environmental organizations, community leaders and local cities, as well as county, state and federal agencies.
Following is an overview of major efforts to conserve, reclaim and reuse water on The Irvine Ranch®:
- When the Michelson Water Reclamation Plant opened in 1967, it represented the most aggressive commitment to using reclaimed water in California’s history. The backbone of the plant is an elaborate dual-pipe system that winds its way through The Ranch. One system of pipes delivers fresh water to homes and businesses, while the other system-featuring more than 300 miles of pipeline-transports treated reclaimed water that is used to irrigate large landscaped areas such as parks, golf courses, community greenbelts and roadway medians. More than 20% of all water supplied by IRWD is reclaimed water.
- For many years, the Irvine Company has used the latest indoor plumbing and outdoor irrigation technologies extensively in new-home construction, making today’s homes fully 50 percent more water-efficient than their older counterparts.
- Since the 1980s, every Irvine Company retail, office and apartment community in Irvine has used reclaimed water for its landscaping.
- In the early 1990s, the Irvine Company and IRWD pioneered the use of reclaimed water in restrooms throughout several of the company’s high-rise office buildings, also using the dual-pipe delivery system. And since the mid-1980s, water-saving fixtures such as low-flow shower heads and toilets have been used in homes, hotels and office buildings built on The Ranch.
- The Irvine Ranch was an early proponent of the extensive use of drip irrigation to water crops and orchards. Drip irrigation uses significantly less water than traditional sprinkler irrigation systems.
Underscoring its commitment to water conservation throughout its portfolio in Irvine and elsewhere, the Irvine Company several years ago established a team comprising approximately 50 water experts. Team members (just a few of them shown here) represent the company’s various divisions and departments, including office, retail, apartments, resorts and residential development. Members constantly monitor water usage and efficiencies across the company’s portfolio, making adjustments when needed and retrofitting irrigation systems with the latest water-saving equipment and technologies. Designated team leaders meet in person weekly to review current local water conditions and to discuss new and upcoming statewide drought regulations and policies.