OCWD Board of Directors

Cathy Green
First Vice President
Denis R. Bilodeau, P.E.
Second Vice President
Philip L. Anthony
Jordan Brandman
Shawn Dewane
Jan M. Flory, ESQ.
Dina L. Nguyen, ESQ.
Roman Reyna
Stephen R. Sheldon
Roger C. Yoh, P.E.
General Manager
Michael R. Markus
P.E., D.WRE.

In This Issue:

President's Message: Exploring Consolidation
Groundwater Adventure Tour
September Employee of the Month
OCWD Welcomes New Employee
August Tours

President's Message: Exploring Consolidation

Shawn Dewane
There is no central authority responsible for water policy in Orange County. However, for 80 years, Orange County Water District (OCWD; District) has been setting industry standards for groundwater management, water quality monitoring and testing, water recycling, financial management, environmental stewardship, planning and engineering, and public engagement that have helped shape water policy worldwide. OCWD is responsible for managing the Orange County Groundwater Basin and works with 19 retail agencies, the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California, the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC), and state and federal agencies and associations to ensure maximum groundwater yield and sustained local water supplies. OCWD is leading the effort in helping the region lower its dependence on imported water supplies.

Since 1933, OCWD has replenished and maintained the groundwater basin at safe levels while more than doubling its annual yield by investing in local water supply projects. The District has 216 employees and an annual operating budget of approximately $53 million. Its management of the groundwater basin includes preventing seawater from intruding into the basin; protecting, capturing and reclaiming water traveling down the Santa Ana River; and constructing and operating more than two dozen facilities including the Groundwater Replenishment System. Groundwater accounts for approximately 70 percent of north and central Orange County's water supply and is about one third of the cost of imported water. The remaining 30 percent of water needed is imported from MWDOC, which has been managing imported water resources in the county since 1951. MWDOC also represents south Orange County, which does not overlie the groundwater basin and relies more heavily on imported water.

MWDOC's management of the imported water system involves serving as one of the twenty-six agencies that comprise MWD, which manages the programs, infrastructure and institutional issues in bringing water from the Colorado River and Northern California into the region. MWDOC has 32 employees and an annual operating budget of about $6.3 million. Its primary roles include: planning to ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place to provide the needed imported water to Orange County; representing the county's interest on policy issues at MWD; working with state and federal agencies to resolve Bay Delta issues impacting the imported supplies from the State Water Project; working with local agencies to develop local supplies; and offering conservation, school education and emergency preparedness programs.

OCWD and MWDOC must and do work closely together to coordinate planning for providing groundwater and imported water to Orange County. Both agencies share an office building and some administrative staff to improve overall efficiencies and control costs.

This summer the OCWD and MWDOC Board of Directors agreed to begin a discussion regarding the benefits of consolidating the water districts. Both boards have appointed subcommittees that will start meeting soon. Potential benefits of consolidation that have been previously discussed include having a single voice for water issues in Orange County, better coordination between the two operations, and cost savings. Consolidating these two agencies is not a new idea, but is somewhat institutionally complex. One prior study recommended the two agencies consolidate, while another study concluded they should remain separate. If the agencies were to ultimately become one, the intent of the consolidation must be to improve the overall water supply and reliability for Orange County, while operating in an efficient and effective manner.


The National Water Research Institute (NWRI) Independent Advisory Panel (IAP) for the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) convened last month for its annual meeting. The appointment of the IAP is a requirement of the current GWRS permit issued by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB), Santa Ana Region. The panel is intended to provide on-going independent scientific peer review, guidance, and counsel regarding GWRS operations, maintenance, and monitoring strategies to help ensure water quality integrity and public health protection.

At the two-day meeting informational presentations were provided by staff from OCWD departments including water production, regulatory affairs, hydrogeology, water quality, research and development, planning and public affairs. Representatives from Orange County Sanitation District's (OCSD) source control department also presented. Staff members from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the RWQCB were in attendance.

During the first five years of GWRS operations, OCWD was required to have a minimum five-member IAP meet at least annually, with an IAP report to be submitted to OCWD and forwarded to the RWQCB and the CDPH at least every two years. OCWD and the IAP consistently exceeded these minimum requirements, with a 12-member IAP meeting in person at least once a year from 2004-2012 and submitting a report after each meeting.

For more information about NWRI's Independent Advisory Panel, please visit http://www.nwri-usa.org/panels.htm. To learn more about the GWRS, visit http://www.gwrsystem.com.

Groundwater Adventure Tour

Environmental rulings, aging infrastructure and lack of funding have pushed Southern California's water supplies to the limit. Fortunately, in north and central Orange County, a groundwater basin exists that with careful management by the Orange County Water District has provided a reliable source of water for 80 years.

Join us on Thursday, October 24 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for a tour of OCWD's facilities. Attendees will learn about Orange County's water, current water supply challenges, OCWD's groundwater management and leadership in water reuse, and the public's role in securing a reliable water supply for the region. The tour includes the Groundwater Replenishment System, the world's largest advanced water purification system, OCWD's state certified laboratory, a 300 foot-long rubber dam and the District's wetlands in the Prado Basin. Tour stops will provide an in-depth look at OCWD's operations.

Breakfast and lunch are included as part of the tour. Don't miss out; click here to register!

September Employee of the Month

The OCWD employee of the month (EOM) program was established to recognize outstanding District employees and to acknowledge their contributions to OCWD. The program commends employees for high quality work, promoting team work, cost saving ideas and a high level of dedication to their work. The District recognizes OCWD employees are the source of its strength, reputation and innovation. Cathy Skousen was recognized as the September EOM.

Cathy has been a loyal and dedicated employee for more than 26 years. During the past nine years, she has been the sole preparer and processor of public works contracts and professional services agreements. She works with project managers, legal counsel, outside contractors, and insurance and bonding companies in order to fulfill her job duties. Recently, Cathy was promoted to senior administrative specialist, specializing in contracts. She is a team player and an asset to the District. Congratulations Cathy!!!

OCWD Welcomes New Employee

OCWD is pleased to welcome Jeremy Jenkins to the OCWD family. Jeremy is a maintenance technician II and is a member of the water production department. Congratulations Jeremy!

August Tours

Tours of the Groundwater Replenishment System and other OCWD facilities were given to the following groups and organizations: two groups of nursing students from California State University, Fullerton; CDM accompanied by delegates from Columbia; representatives from Protec-Arisawa; two Chinese delegations; Congressmember Dana Rohrabacher and representatives from Lockheed Martin; OCSD staff; members of the 2013-2014 Grand Jury; a student from the University of New South Wales and a group of engineering students from Mokpo National University in Korea.

Public tours of the Groundwater Replenishment System are offered at
10 a.m. on the first Friday of every month; reservations are required. Tours may be scheduled for other days of the week, depending on staff availability. To schedule a tour or to request more information, please contact Becky Mudd at (714) 378-3362 or bmudd@ocwd.com. To schedule a speaker, please contact Rose Wilke at (714) 378-3206 or rwilke@ocwd.com. You may also visit www.ocwd.com to schedule these activities online.

18700 Ward Street
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
(714) 378-3200

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