CSA 23 - Santa Margarita

News and Announcements

Water ALERT!

The ALERT status indicates a greater level of concern over the available water supply for the community of Santa Margarita.  The residents and water users are being asked to voluntarily reduce their use of water by 15%.

The ALERT status is triggered when either the groundwater level drops below a monthly set point or the 3-year cumulative rainfall total drops below 84”.  In this case, the groundwater level has dropped below the monthly set point and the 3-year cumulative rainfall total is below 84”. If the dry period continues or if the groundwater level continues to drop then the Board of Supervisors may need to declare a water shortage emergency and the status would be changed to CRITICAL.  Residents and water users would then be notified, and mandatory water conservation measures would be implemented.  It is anticipated that conserving water now will delay or likely avoid the need for any such action.

An above average rainfall this next season would dictate a change back to “OK” status.

In the short term, water users are being asked to voluntarily reduce water use by 15%.  Reducing water consumption will have the single greatest positive impact to the water supply.  The well levels and water demand will be closely monitored by County staff to evaluate the success of the voluntary water conservation.  In the longer term, several alternatives to secure a supplemental source of water for CSA-23 are being pursued.  A reliable supplemental source may eliminate the need for this warning system.

Current well depths and well production levels will be posted at Well #4 on El Camino Real near Maria Ave.  For more information you may contact Laura Holder, Utilities Division Program Manager (805) 781-5135 or look at our website: www.SLOCountyWater.org



Tips for Reducing Lawn Water Use
•    Don't over water your lawn. Only water every three to five days in the summer.  Reduce watering time if needed to eliminate water run off.
•    To prevent water loss from evaporation, water your lawn during the cooler part of the day.  Avoid watering when it is windy. 
•    Check sprinklers to ensure they're not watering driveways and walkways. 
•    Adjust your lawnmower to cut grass to a height of 3 inches or more. Taller grass encourages deeper roots and shades the soil to reduce moisture loss. 

Tips for Reducing Garden Water Use
•    Add compost or peat moss to soil to improve its water-holding capacity. 
•    Mulch beds to a depth of 2 to 3 inches to reduce evaporation. 
•    Put off planting major shrubs. Even drought-tolerant varieties need a season or more of intensive watering to properly develop root systems. 
•    Install drip irrigation for flowers and shrubs. 

Other Tips for Reducing Outdoor Water Use
•    Wash your car with a bucket of soapy water and use a nozzle to stop the flow of water from the hose between rinsing. 
•    Clean driveways and sidewalks with a broom instead of the hose. 
•    Check for leaks in outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses. Also, check your spa/pool for leaks and have them repaired promptly.
•    Cover your spa or pool and reduce evaporation by 90%. An average size pool left uncovered can lose as much as 1,000 gallons of water per month. 
•    Avoid water toys that need a constant stream of water. 
•    Use your water meter to check for leaks. Turn off all faucets and water-using appliances, then read your meter. Make sure no one uses water for 30 minutes, then take a second reading. If the dial has moved, you have a leak in a toilet or water pipe. 

Tips for Indoor Water Use
•    Defrost frozen food in the refrigerator or in the microwave instead of running water over it. 
•    When washing dishes by hand, use two basins - one for washing and one for rinsing rather than let the water run. 
•    Repair dripping faucets and leaky toilets. Dripping faucets can waste about 2,000 gallons of water each year. Leaky toilets can waste as much as 200 gallons each day.
•    Only run the dishwasher and clothes washer when they are fully loaded.  Don't pre-rinse dishes before loading the dishwasher. You will save as much as 20 gallons a load, or 6,500 gallons per year.  Tests show pre-rinsing doesn't improve cleaning.

Want more information?  Go to:   www.SLOCountyWater.org

Notice of Fire Hydrant Flow Testing in Santa Margarita

The County of San Luis Obispo Department of Public Works will be flow testing hydrants in Santa Margarita on Tuesday, April 14, 2020. The testing will begin about 10 am and each test will take only a few minutes. The testing is being conducted to determine fire flow rates for insurance purposes. Fire flow testing ensures Santa Margarita has sufficient water supply for fire suppression beyond daily maximum consumption. Along with maintaining the fire rating, the testing monitors the health of the town’s water system, identifies weak areas in the system, removes materials that settle in the hydrant, and cleans out the lines.

Six different hydrants throughout town will be tested. You will still have water during this time, however you may temporarily experience low water pressure, air in the water line, sediment, and/or discolored (rusty) water. Your water will continue to meet all drinking water standards and be safe to use for drinking and cooking purposes. The discoloration of water will not harm an individual, although it may stain light colored clothing. We recommend that before you use your water for consumption or laundry, you run your faucets until you have clean, clear water.

Hydrants To Be Tested:

  • 22423 El Camino Real                      
  • 22815 El Camino Real                      
  • 22041 H St                 
  • 22322 El Camino Real                      
  • K St & Margarita Ave            
  • 22233 F St                 

If you have questions, please contact:

Mark Chiaramonte, Utilities Division Manager at (805) 781-1186

Faith Zenker, Water Quality Laboratory Manager at (805) 781-5111


Rate Increase Information

A rate increase for the water customers in Santa Margarita (CSA 23) was passed on August 13, 2019. New rates go into effect September 13, 2019 - see ordinance with new rates & fees.  

If you have any questions please contact Antonio Mora via phone 805-788-2954 or e-mail [email protected].

Boundary Map

Pay My Water Bill

Water Service Rates & Ordinances

CSA 23 (Santa Margarita) Advisory Group

When: 1st Thursday of each month at 7:00PM
Where: Santa Margarita Community Hall on the Corner of I Street and Murphy Street


Water Conservation and Drought Response

Current Water Status: Alert

End of Month Conditions: December 2021

  • Well No. 4 depth to water: 14.42 feet
  • Average Annual Rainfall at Booster Station: 74.22 inches
  • Realtime Rainfall Data: Santa Margarita Rainfall Data

Current well depths and well production levels are also posted on El Camino Real near Maria Ave.

Water Conservation Resources

Please click here for water conservation tips and other resources.

Water Supply Status

The shallow basin below Santa Margarita is the only water source for the community, and the County has developed a program to help protect the water supply and avoid the need for mandatory measures. The levels of response described below are required to protect the supply and minimize impacts to the community.

The shallow basin below Santa Margarita is the only water source for the community, and the County has developed a program to help protect the water supply and avoid the need for mandatory measures. The levels of response described below are required to protect the supply and minimize impacts to the community.

  • When the average rainfall and groundwater levels are at or near normal levels, the status is OK. Residents are entitled to all the water they can put to reasonable and beneficial use.

  • If the groundwater drops below normal levels and the supply appears to be at risk, then the water supply status isALERT. An ALERT status requests that all residents and business owners in Santa Margarita voluntarily reduce their water usage.

  • If the groundwater drops significantly below normal levels and the supply appears to be at risk, then the water supply status is CRITICAL. During a CRITICAL status, mandatory conservation measures would be implemented.

Contact Public Works via web form, email, or call us at (805) 781-5252.