Resilient Together

Moulton Niguel Water District has partnered with customers over the years to implement water efficiencies that have made us resilient. Because of the District’s innovative programs and investment in those programs, it is well-positioned to provide safe, reliable water to its customers even in challenging times. But, we can do more. From water-efficient tips to rebates and workshops, find information on how to make every drop count.

We’re In This Together:

As the state faces drought conditions, Moulton Niguel is doing our part to help customers save water. In recent years, we’ve upgraded to smart meters that identify water leaks, expanded money-saving rebate programs that replace inefficient appliances, and organized one of the most successful turf replacement programs in California.

In partnership with customers, we’ve conserved more than 250 million gallons of water annually. This conservation has impacts not just at home, but throughout the state.

We’ve had many water efficiency successes. But we can do more. Explore these programs and resources to help save water – and save yourself money!

 Are we in a drought emergency now?   

The State of California is currently in its second year of drought and preparing for a third consecutive year of dry conditions. Water years 2020 and 2021 were the driest two-year sequence on record for precipitation in the state and were characterized by high temperatures and dry soils, which resulted in low runoff from the State’s snowpack.

In October 2021, Governor Newsom declared a drought state of emergency for all 58 counties in California, including Orange County. In November 2021, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), the wholesale water provider for much of southern California, declared a drought emergency and called for increased efforts to maximize conservation, particularly in areas that are primarily reliant on supplies from Northern California via the State Water Project. 

 Where does Moulton Niguel get its water? 

Moulton Niguel imports 100% of its drinking water from MWD via the Diemer Water Treatment Plant (Diemer WTP) located in northeast Orange County. Under normal conditions, the Diemer WTP sources water from the Colorado River through the Colorado River Aqueduct and from Northern California through the State Water Project (SWP). Currently, both water sources are experiencing drought conditions. To preserve SWP water supplies, the Diemer facility has solely imported water from the Colorado River since March 2020. Imported water supply sources are subject to change as drought conditions evolve in both regions.

The District meets over 20% of its total water demands with locally produced recycled water; this resource serves dedicated irrigation accounts, such as homeowner associations, commercial shopping centers, schools, parks, and recreation centers. 

 What are MNWD’s plans regarding the drought?   

Moulton Niguel has partnered with you, our customers, to boost our drought resilience. We work to ensure a clean and reliable water supply and are monitoring the drought conditions in our state carefully. While we can’t predict supply issues or future mandates the state may impose, we are confident that we will be able to provide a reliable water supply for our customers to carry out daily activities. We are asking our customers to do their part by using water efficiently and staying within their water budget. Much of our water is used outdoors. For the greatest impact, you can take action to ensure your landscape is drought resilient. Attend one of our sustainable landscape workshops or participate in our NatureScape Turf-to-Native Garden Program to get started today!
Here are a few examples of how we’ve prepared and built resilience:

Here are a few examples of how we’ve prepared and built  resilience:  

  •  Moulton Niguel promotes the use of recycled water, which meets over 20% of the District’s peak supply needs;
  •  We’ve made investments to ensure the reliability of the water supply and developed regional partnerships for emergency interties with neighboring water agencies;
  •  Implemented water-budget based rates;
  •  Provided education to residents, commercial customers, and HOAs on water efficiency;
  •  Removed nearly 6 million square feet of turf, representing more than 500 million gallons of water savings. This accounts for more than 25% of all turf removed in Orange County;
  •  Upgraded to smart meters, which help identify leaks; and,
  •  Provided customers with rebates for replacing inefficient water appliances.


Are there water restrictions now?   

Governor Newsom has asked Californians to voluntarily reduce water use by 15 percent. The State Water Resources Control Board is considering implementing emergency regulations in January 2022, which would prohibit specific uses that contribute to water waste.

Additionally, the District has implemented water conservation best management practices to prevent water waste that are permanently in effect. The following water wasting activities are currently prohibited by ordinance:   

• Water waste and unreasonable water use by any person at any time;
• Watering landscapes within 48 hours of measurable rainfall (defined as ¼” in a 24-hour period);
• No watering or irrigating in a manner that allows excessive runoff of potable or recycled water; and,
• No washing down hard or paved surfaces, except where needed for health and safety reasons.

The District also strongly recommends:

• To avoid watering during daylight hours, from 9 am to 5 pm, to prevent water lost to evaporation;
• Installing low-water demand plants, trees, and shrubs when renovating landscape; and,
• Installing swimming pool and spa covers to minimize water loss to evaporation.

For a full list of prohibited wastes, best practices, and recommendations, view the District’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan Ordinance at


Are we going to have days when we can/can’t water plants/yard? What will my watering days be during the drought?   

The District does not require customers to limit watering to specific days during the week. We don’t know what actions the state may take in the future; however, during the last drought, the state allowed Moulton Niguel to rely on its own water efficiency methods rather than being subjected to restrictions imposed in other areas.   

What stage of our Water Shortage Contingency Plan are we in?   

The Water Shortage Contingency Plan has six stages. While the plan has not been activated at this time, Moulton Niguel is implementing some drought response actions identified in the WSCP to aid in the Governor’s call for reduced water use.

How can I help? 

Here are a few ways that you can help conserve:

• Avoid watering between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Evaporation peaks during daylight hours, so watering when it’s cool and not as bright will help your soil and plants retain moisture.
• Replace high water need vegetation, like turf, with California native and drought-tolerant plants to reduce the overall water needs of your landscape.
• Take advantage of the NatureScape Turf-to-Native Garden Program or the DIY Turf Replacement Program to update your landscape. The rebate for both programs just increased from $2 per sq. foot to $4 per sq. foot.
• Pair the turf removal incentive with other outdoor rebates, such as the weather-based irrigation controller rebate, to upgrade your irrigation system and start managing water according to the weather.
• Visit to learn how to conserve.
• Receive a personalized in-person or virtual home savings survey from one of our experts. These surveys take just
45 minutes to complete.

We thank you for all you have already done to help conserve water. We encourage you to stay within your water budget and heed the governor’s request to cut water use where possible.

A few additional ideas:

*Use a “Smart Irrigation Controller”   

*Only run your clothes washer when full.   

*Sign up for Leak Alerts at 


How will my bill be impacted during the drought?    

As of today, bills will remain the same. Moulton Niguel is proud to maintain the lowest average bill in South Orange County.
Customers who use water efficiently and stay within their water budget will continue to pay the District’s lowest water rates.

Can we hose-down (power wash) our hardscape such as driveways, patios, etc.? Is this allowed during a drought period? 

No. The District’s water conservation best practices are in effect at all times. This is only permitted to alleviate safety or sanitary hazards. If needed for safety reasons, use   

  • a hand-held bucket or similar container   
  • a hand-held hose equipped with a functioning, positive self-closing shut-off device or   
  • a low-volume, high-pressure cleaning machine equipped to recycle any water used. 


 Can we wash our cars in our driveway? What are the restrictions? Do we have to go to a commercial car wash?  

It is recommended that customers use a commercial carwash so the wash water will not run off their property and into the storm drain. Additionally, the dirty water used at carwashes is recycled and reused numerous times, making it a more efficient way to clean a dirty vehicle.

You may wash your car in your driveway provided you have a shutoff nozzle on your hose to ensure water is not running continuously. Customers should be aware of their water budget for all water use activity. Information on your water budget is available on your bill.


Will I be charged the Tier 5 (highest) rate if I go over my water budget?  Is there an increased penalty for going over budget?   

Right now, customers are charged at Tier 5 if they exceed 150% of the monthly water budget. Any change to that threshold must be approved at a public meeting by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.

Residential rebates and programs are available to help you save money and make your home more water-efficient.


  Weather-Based Smart Sprinkler Timer (AKA Smart Timer) – Up to $330 per controller

  Soil Moisture Sensor Controller– Up to $330 per controller with a sensor

  Rotating Sprinkler Nozzles – Up to $6 per nozzle / Minimum of 30 nozzles

  Rain Barrels & Cisterns – Up to $35 per Barrel / Cisterns start at $250

  Turf Removal – Up to $4 per square foot *artificial turf is not eligible for a turf replacement incentive 

  NatureScape Turf-to-Native Garden Program (Turf Removal) – Up to $4 per square foot *artificial turf is not eligible for a turf replacement incentive 



 High-Efficiency Clothes Washer – Up to $285

  Premium High-Efficiency Toilet – Up to $40 / 4-Liters (1.1 gallons per flush) or less



  Home Savings Surveys -Moulton Niguel’s Water Efficiency team is available to visit your home, review your outdoor watering practices, and recommend easy ways to save water and money! The visit is FREE and only takes about 45 minutes.

  NatureScape Turf-to-Native Garden Program – NatureScape is a direct-install Turf-to-Native Garden Program that helps customers replace turf with a native, low water-use landscape. NatureScape participants receive free pre-qualification landscape and irrigation assessment, 50% off design fees and $4 per square foot of turf that is replaced. *artificial turf is not eligible for a turf replacement incentive 

For more information about our rebates and programs please visit



Commercial rebates and programs are available to help you save money and make your home more water-efficient.


  Weather-Based Smart Sprinkler Timer (AKA Smart Timer) – Up to $75 per station

  Soil Moisture Sensor Controller– Up to $75 per controller

  Rotating Sprinkler Nozzles – Up to $6 per nozzle / Minimum of 30 nozzles

  Large Rotary Spray Nozzles  – Up to $28 per set / Minimum of 8

  Cisterns – Starts at $250 per cistern

  Turf Removal – Up to $4 per square foot *artificial turf is not eligible for a turf replacement incentive 

  Drip Irrigation – Up to $0.70 per square foot

  In-Stem Flow Regulator – Up to $1 per Regulator

  Cooling Tower Conductivity & pH Controllers – Up to $1,225 per Conductivity Controller
Up to $2,750 per pH Controller



  Premium High-Efficiency Toilet – Up to $40 / 4-Liters (1.1 gallons per flush) or less

  Ultra-Low and Zero Water Urinals – Up to $200 per Urinal

  Plumbing Flow Control Valve – $5 per valve / Minimum of 10 valves

  Connectionless Food Steamers – Up to $985 per compartment

  Air-Cooled Ice Machine – Up to $1,750

  Dry Vacuum Pumps – Up to $125 per 0.5 HP / Maximum of 2 HP

  Laminar Flow Restrictors – Up to $10 per Restrictor / Minimum of 10


  Water Savings Incentive Program – The Water Savings Incentive Program (WSIP) provides financial incentives for customized water efficiency projects. Contact MNWD’s Water Efficiency Department if you have additional questions at (949) 448-4025. *Customizable Commercial Incentives

  Free Landscape Irrigation Survey– A certified landscape irrigation auditor will survey and provide written recommendations for qualifying non-residential properties greater than one acre at no cost. *For landscapes greater than one acre

  Public Agency Landscape Program – To encourage agencies that have not already installed water-efficient landscape equipment to do so, SoCal Water$mart offers enhanced incentives paid up-front for public agencies to install water-efficient landscape devices at their facilities and on their grounds.


For more information about our commercial rebates and programs visit