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What’s Up With the Irrigation on Las Virgenes Road?

What's Up with the Irrigation?

Why does LVMWD irrigate empty fields during a drought?

Las Virgenes Municipal Water District provides wastewater treatment services to the residents of Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, Westlake Village and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. The wastewater from homes flows to the Tapia Water Reclamation (Tapia) through sewer pipes where it is treated to high-quality recycled water for use on golf courses, parklands, highway landscapes and common areas. Located just south of Malibu Creek State Park, the facility operates under a permit issued by the Regional Water Quality Control Board or “Water Board”, a State agency.

Spray fields

In the winter months, demand for recycled water typically falls off and discharge of excess water to Malibu Creek is allowed under the permit. However, from April 15 to November 15, discharge to the Creek is prohibited. LVMWD is subject to fines if it does not comply with this permit condition. Currently, there is no place to store this excess fully treated recycled water, so the fields are irrigated as a means of disposal.  

Spray Fields


It’s a Seasonal Event

During the warmest summer months (July, August, September) the demand for recycled water uses the entire available supply. However, cool weather during the spring time  (April, May, and during the period of “June gloom”) and again in the fall (October, November), demand falls off where disposal by irrigating the fields is necessary.


Is There an Alternative?

Spray FieldsWe are currently investigating options for storing excess recycled water for use in times of peak demand. The challenge is finding a solution that is cost-effective, reliable and a practical means to beneficially use the recycled water.

How do I get more information about this issue?

Here are links to related topics:

  • Recycled Water Seasonal Storage

  • Tapia’s Permit Renewal (coming soon)