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
OCWD Approves Lease Option
Support the Nation's Largest Water Education Festival!
OCWD: Committed to Water Quality
Groundwater Agency Technical Exchange
Groundwater Adventure Tour
Construction Corner: Seawater Barrier
Take the Waste to Wow Challenge!
Employee of the Month
October and November Tours

President's Message

Shawn Dewane

One of America's most important report cards was released this year. The 2013 Report Card for America's Infrastructure, compiled by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), is generated every four years and likely goes unnoticed by countless households. Unfortunately, U.S. infrastructure earned a dismal D+ on the report card, which means infrastructure is in poor to fair condition and mostly below standard, with many elements approaching the end of their service life. Much of the infrastructure exhibits significant deterioration and is at risk of failing; the price tag to fix this problem is a whopping $3.6 trillion.

In 1988, U.S. infrastructure earned a C from the congressionally chartered National Council on Public Works Improvement report, Fragile Foundations: A Report on America's Public Works. Among the problems identified within the Fragile Foundations report were increasing congestion and deferred maintenance and age of the system; the authors of the report worried that fiscal investment was inadequate to meet the current operations costs and future demands on the system. When the federal government indicated they would not be updating the report after a decade, the ASCE used the same approach and methodology to publish its first Report Card on America's Infrastructure in 1998. Since 1998, ASCE has released five Report Cards and found each time that these same problems persist. In 2001, U.S. Infrastructure received a D+ with $1.3 trillion needed in infrastructure investments and in 2005 and 2009, it earned D's with $1.6 trillion and $2.2 trillion needed in investments, respectively. Other critical infrastructure earning poor grades include energy, D+, and transit, D. Infrastructure is failing year after year and little to nothing is being done to address it.

California's infrastructure fares slightly better, earning a grade of C in 2012, but is definitely nothing to brag about. California's drinking water and wastewater infrastructure have earned failing marks, each needing $39 billion and $29.9 billion, respectively, over the next 20 years to bring their grades up to B. Overall, the capital investment needs for the nation's water and wastewater infrastructure will total $126 billion by 2020 and $195 billion by 2040. These costs will ultimately be absorbed by everyone who pays a water bill.

With such a challenge looming, communities across the country will need a full complement of innovative financing tools to address the water infrastructure challenge in a fiscally responsible manner. While the state is debating the passage of a water bond and the construction of an alternative conveyance system to bring water from the Bay-Delta to Southern California, Congress began work on resolving the differences between the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) and the Senate's version of the water resources legislation. However, there does not seem to be any immediate relief in sight. Additional efforts include a group of bipartisan congressional leaders who are discussing the creation of a federal loan program that would reduce the cost of essential water infrastructure projects in our communities with little to no long-term impact on the federal deficit. The program, called the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authority (WIFIA), would make federal loans of $20 million or more available to local communities at very low interest rates. Passage of WIFIA could allow communities to resolve more water infrastructure challenges at a lower cost to water customers. A similar program has been in place for many years in the transportation sector that is a proven success. WIFIA is getting some traction from both sides of the aisle as it seems to strike the right balance between local responsibility and federal participation. While this may be a step in the right direction more work is needed to address our crumbling and failing infrastructure.

We are on the precipice of disaster. We cannot continue to ignore our nation's infrastructure to the point of near-failure. The longer we delay, the greater the hazard becomes to public safety and our economy. The dismal grades our infrastructure has earned on this most recent ASCE Report Card is an important call-to-action that should be heeded by all.

OCWD Approves Lease Option for Proposed Power Plant

At a December 9 special board meeting of the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) the Board of Directors (the Board), voted six to four to approve an option to lease the District's Ball Road Basin property (the Property) in the city of Anaheim (the City) to Orange County Energy Park LLC (OCEP), a subsidiary of Competitive Power Ventures, Inc. (CPV), to potentially build an electric power generating station. The option agreement gives OCEP an initial period to submit a bid for a proposed power plant to Southern California Edison (SCE) and apply for certification with the California Energy Commission (CEC). The Board does not have authority to approve the proposed power plant. OCEP will be subject to environmental review by the CEC through its CEQA/EIR equivalent process that involves public hearings, site review, and noise, visual and mitigation requirements. If the certification is approved, OCEP can activate the option to lease the site from the District to construct and operate the power plant.

Please click on the OCWD Approves Lease Option for Proposed Power Plant press release to read more.

Support the Nation's Largest Water Education Festival!

The Orange County Water District, Disneyland Resort, National Water Research Institute and the OCWD Groundwater Guardian Team will present the 18th annual Children's Water Education Festival March 26-27, 2014, at the University of California, Irvine. The event is the largest water festival of its kind in the nation and will educate nearly 7,000 Orange County third, fourth and fifth grade students about water and the environment. Since its inception, it has taught more than 100,000 children important lessons on how to protect natural resources.

The Festival is provided at no cost to schools, making public and private financial support crucial to the success of this educational event and its continued growth. In addition to monetary and in-kind donations, the Festival requires more than 600 volunteers, staff and presenters. To sponsor, donate supplies, present an activity or volunteer, please contact Gina Ayala at (714) 378-3323 or gayala@ocwd.com. To learn more about the event and/or to watch a brief video, please visit www.childrenwaterfestival.com.

OCWD: Committed to Water Quality

The National Water Research Institute Independent Advisory Panel (IAP) for the Orange County Water District's (OCWD; the District) Santa Ana River Monitoring (SARMON) Program convened last month for its annual meeting. The SARMON IAP meets annually to review the District's use of Santa Ana River (SAR) water as a source of groundwater recharge. Given the significant contribution of upstream treated wastewater discharges to SAR flows, water quality is a primary focus. The Panel represents the continuing legacy of the District's Santa Ana River Water Quality and Health study, which was conducted from 1996 to 2004 and demonstrated the safety of using the SAR to replenish the groundwater basin.

Prior to the actual meeting, District staff worked together to produce OCWD's annual SAR water quality report for the IAP to review. Many of these same staff then made focused presentations to the IAP during its one-day meeting, which was also attended by local water quality regulators. Preliminary IAP feedback indicated the District's monitoring programs continue to demonstrate that the current SAR water quality and subsequent recharge processes result in a safe water supply. The IAP will provide a formal written report to the District in the near future.

OCWD is committed to ensuring high quality water for 2.4 million residents in north and central Orange County. For more than 40 years it has proactively monitored and tested its groundwater and will vigilantly continue to do so in the coming years. Municipal water supplies drawn from OCWD's groundwater basin meet all state and federal drinking water standards.

Groundwater Agency Technical Exchange

As a leader in groundwater management, OCWD participates in various workgroups, meetings and studies to share and advance its knowledge, and that of its industry. Recently, OCWD restarted its coordination of the Groundwater Agency Technical Exchange (GATE). GATE meetings facilitate information sharing among technical groundwater agency staff and are now being held under the auspices of the Association of Groundwater Agencies (AGWA). Its mission is to share information about groundwater basins and keep abreast of technical and regulatory challenges facing agencies.

The primary focus of the October 2013 meeting was how groundwater storage is measured and managed. Presentations on the following basins were made: Chino Basin, Central/West Basin, Main San Gabriel Basin, Santa Paula Basin, and Orange County Basin. OCWD's methodology for calculating storage changes and accumulated overdraft was also presented. The next GATE meeting will be held in 2014.

Groundwater Adventure Tour

Nearly 140 guests attended the 2013 Groundwater Adventure Tour that took place Thursday, October 24. The annual event highlighted Orange County Water District operations including the Groundwater Replenishment System, the Advanced Water Quality Assurance Laboratory, Field Headquarters (Recharge Operations) and Prado Wetlands. The day's activities were designed to provide an inside look at Orange County's water supply, as well as a better understanding of the District's groundwater recharge operations.

Tour attendees included staff from regulatory agencies, cities, elected officials' offices, water districts, universities, state and county agencies, students, chambers of commerce, service club members, and other stakeholders. Information was presented to attendees in a variety of formats including presentations, tours, video and Q&A. OCWD Director Cathy Green, executive management and public affairs staff shared their knowledge and facilitated activities throughout the day. Thank you to staff who gave presentations!

The Groundwater Adventure Tour will be hosted again next fall. Stay tuned for more details!

Construction Corner: Seawater Barrier

The Orange County Water District manages the groundwater basin underlying north and central Orange County that provides approximately 70 percent of the area's water supply. It owns and operates a series of underground injection wells in Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach to prevent seawater intrusion into the basin. For optimal performance of the seawater barrier, OCWD cleans and maintains its wells on a periodic basis.

This year maintenance of these wells began in September and should be completed by March 2014. Most of the wells are located along Ellis Avenue. As construction activities commence at each site, notices are distributed to nearby residents and businesses. Work activities are temporary and will cause minimal impact. Please contact Gina Ayala at (714) 378-3323 or gayala@ocwd.com if you have any questions about this project.

Take the Waste to Wow Challenge! (This is not a District sponsored event.)

Did you know that plastic water bottles are among the most common debris materials in storm channels? As part of efforts to reduce this debris, Wyland, Disneyland Resort, and Orange County Public Works encourage everyone to take part in a six-week contest (Nov.1 - Dec. 15) in support of the recently launched Adopt A Channel program. Waste To Wow challenges people to send in photos of how they have creatively reused their plastic bottles.

The grand prize winner of the contest will receive four Disneyland Resort Park Hopper passes and signed artwork from renowned environmental artist Wyland. Two first place winners will also be awarded a signed Wyland artwork. For contest details, please visit www.wylandfoundation.org/p/wastetowow.

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. Lorenzo Jackson was recognized as the December EOM.

Lorenzo has been part of the OCWD family since 1993 and works in the Advanced Water Quality Assurance Laboratory as a LIMS Data Analyst/Sample Custodian. He is an exceptional staff member who takes pride in producing high quality work. He diligently monitors the lab's wastewater discharge and water purification systems to comply with all required process protocols. He works well in a team environment and ensures the data and information generated by the lab is of the highest caliber.

Congratulations Lorenzo!

October and November Tours

Approximately 900 individuals toured the Groundwater Replenishment System and other OCWD facilities in October and November. Guests included the following organizations and groups: University of New South Wales, Australia; the public tour; environmental engineering, hydrogeology and health science students from California State University, Fullerton (CSUF); staff members from Cinnabar; representatives from the Water Corporation in Australia; four classes of nursing students from CSUF; EAWAG Aquatic Research, Switzerland; the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection; Korea Water & Wastewater Works Association; civil engineering students from Cal Poly Pomona; students from the University of California, Berkeley; students from Santiago Community College and San Diego State University; nursing students from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB); OCWD's public Groundwater Adventure Tour; representatives from the United States Environmental Protection Agency; staff from the City of Los Angeles Mayor's Office; Congressman Alan Lowenthal; a delegation from China; LADWP staff and District Council 3 Members; AWWA's 2014 Water Quality Technology conference attendees; engineering and geography students from CSULB; staff from the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence in Australia; representatives from the Sapporo Waterworks Bureau in Japan; engineering students from the University of California, Irvine; Coastline Community College students; John Hopkins University students; Cypress College students; Costa Mesa High School students affiliated with Orange County Coastkeepers; laboratory staff from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California; staff from Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP; Citrus College students; students from the University of California, Los Angeles; Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen and staff from Senator Mimi Walters.

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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