Liquid News

Irvine Ranch Water District Storage Reservoirs Meet Customers’ Needs

There are 36 “water workers” at Irvine Ranch Water District on the job 365 days a year without rest. They are not easily seen, but are there nonetheless, providing drinking water for customers, in addition to fire flow protection. They are the 36 potable water reservoirs dotted throughout the IRWD service area.

“Elevation is the key,” said IRWD Water Operations Manager Tom Roberts. “Because of their elevation, reservoirs provide water pressure for the system and a reserve supply in case of a power outage or other emergencies. Additionally, tank reservoirs provide adequate flow for fire fighting.”

IRWD reservoirs are designed to be non-intrusive and blend into their surroundings.  They can be constructed of steel or concrete and take many shapes. Most reservoirs in the IRWD service area are round tanks and many are even built partially submerged with only a few feet exposed above ground. One concrete reservoir in Shady Canyon is rectangular because of the shape of the property where it was built. It’s also painted green to blend into the hillside. A reservoir in Newport Coast is completely buried and not visible at all.

Two other reservoirs in the Foothill Ranch area are painted an earth tone that blends into the hillsides. The largest two IRWD reservoirs each hold 16 million gallons of water. They are buried concrete structures located at the Baker Water Treatment Plant in Lake Forest.  IRWD took over that plant and reservoirs during consolidation with the former Los Alisos Water District in 2001.

In 1984, IRWD built what was hailed as the largest steel reservoir in the west at that time – the Zone 1 Reservoir on Sand Canyon Avenue. That reservoir is not easily seen behind its screen of landscape, which is intentional.

Building reservoirs on hills has the advantage of providing needed pressure for the system. There are plenty of hills in the IRWD service area conducive to reservoir construction, making “water tower” reservoirs unnecessary.

For more information on sources of IRWD water, please visit our website.

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