California Water Drought
California Water Drought

An Easy Fix to Completely End Newport’s Water Crisis

By now, you’ve heard about the water crisis throughout California.  For many reasons, our water supply is simply too low.  In Orange County, we have a reservoir that we pump most of our water from, but we are only allowed to pull 72% from the OC’s reservoir, meaning still need to import 28% of it from northern water supplies– the same supplies that feed the rest of the state.

That means our water supply graph looks like this:

Water Graph 1
Water Graph 1

Water is bought in sold by the acre/foot, and naturally, different supplies cost different amounts of money.  What the heck is an acre/foot, you ask?  It is a unit of volume equivalent to an acre of land filled one foot high with water (or, for a more relate-able vision, a football field filled with 9 inches of water).  In otherwords, it is a little over 325,000 gallons– or about the same amount that a family of four uses per-year.

One Acre
One Acre, Represented Overlaying a Football Field

Now, get ready for some math!  Our local water supply is fairly cheap, coming in at about $300 per acre/foot, but when we import water, it gets much more expensive, and comes in at close to $1,100 per acre/foot.  With 72% coming in at $300 and 28% coming in at $1,100, that means that our blended water bill comes in at $308 for imported water, and $216 for local water, for a combined total of about $524 per acre/foot…  That last 28% at $1,100 almost doubles the cost of our water!

Water Graph 2

Wouldn’t it be nice if the OC reservoir had enough water to get 100% at just $300 per acre/foot?  Well hold on to your seat, because while OC doesn’t have a reservoir that large… Newport/Mesa does!

Underneath our very feet from about 800 feet to 2,200 feet lies a massive quantity of amber-tinted water– the tint comes from the colorings of an ancient redwood forest (aside from the coloring, the amber water is clean enough to drink straight from the ground!). If this were used to supply Newport Beach and Costa Mesa combined, it would last over 600 years.

How would we obtain this water?  Well, MesaWater has already solved that problem for their own city by building something called the MWRF, and are now completely self-sufficient when it comes to water.

OC Groundwater Basin
OC Groundwater Basin

Their pipes run adjacent to Newport Beach’s water supply, and we can simply “turn on” the connections, and tap into that supply.

Newport Mesa Border pipeline
Newport/Mesa Border Pipeline

The question is: Would they let us?
The answer: “HECK YEAH!”

I’ve been working with MesaWater on this idea for years now, and they would be overjoyed to service the city of Newport Beach.  For MesaWater, this means they save tons of money in fixed overhead costs by producing higher water quantities.  For us, it means we cut our water prices nearly in half.

In addition to cheaper, cleaner, and a totally sustainable water supply, it also removes Newport from reliance on statewide water, allowing other cities and farmers to use that water instead.  If Newport Council agrees to this, the legal paperwork would take about a year (things get crazy when it comes to water), and we could have this up and running inside of 24 months.

I think it’s high-time we begin taking this option seriously.

Does this idea sound good to you?  SHARE it on Facebook and contact your local councilperson, here:



About Mike Glenn

Mike is the founder and publisher of Save Newport and Chair of Government Relations for the Elks Lodge. He writes, shoots photos, and edits, but much of the time, he's just "the IT guy". He can be reached at: Google+, Facebook, or via email, at