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.

President's Message

Shawn Dewane
For more than 80 years, the Orange County Water District (OCWD) has been planning and investing in a reliable water supply for today and for generations to come. Utilizing technology, leadership and innovation, it has successfully managed Orange County's groundwater resources and has implemented revolutionary water supply projects such as the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS).

The U.S. Water Alliance recently recognized the GWRS as it awarded OCWD and the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) with the U.S. Water Prize. The agencies were lauded as global leaders in reclamation and reuse for this project. On behalf of both agencies, we are truly honored to have received the Prize, which was presented during an awards ceremony in Washington D.C. April 7.

This state-of-the-art advanced water purification project began operating in 2008 and produces up to 70 million gallons of high-quality water every day. This is enough water to meet the annual needs of nearly 600,000 residents in north and central Orange County, California. OCWD is currently expanding the GWRS to produce an additional 30 million gallons per day (MGD), taking production to 100 MGD. The initial expansion will be complete in early 2015. It is also looking to complete a final expansion with an ultimate capacity of 130 million gallons per day in the near future.

The GWRS and its current expansion are realized as a tremendous effort to reduce regional water insecurity and provide a local drought-proof water supply. It is a viable solution that can be applied globally. For this reason the project continues to receive prominent media coverage. In fact, recently the GWRS was featured in an online article for CNN Vital Signs: From toilet to tap: Getting a taste for drinking recycled waste water.

OCWD and OCSD are proud to partner on such a successful project that brings water reliability to the community and serves as a blueprint worldwide.

For more information regarding the U.S. Water Prize, please visit Drought Proof Water Supply Project in Orange County Receives 2014 U.S. Water Prize. You may also view a video about the GWRS that was released at the award ceremony: Water Alliance Award.

O.C. Water Summit

California's $1.9 trillion economy is at risk. We are in the midst of one of the driest periods on record and in addition, pumping restrictions are still in place – limiting the amount of water we can move throughout the state to keep our economy growing. Business, agriculture, urban populations and the environment are all dependent on reliable water supplies.

Southern California is weathering these conditions better than other regions because of the billions of dollars invested in local water reliability projects. Yesterday's investments are paying off and now we need to make additional investments to ensure water reliability tomorrow. Join us for the 7th Annual Orange County Water Summit on Friday, May 16, 2014 where leading water experts and policy makers will discuss their plans to secure California's water future.

This year marks the 7th annual O.C. Water Summit, which is hosted by the Municipal Water District of Orange County, the Orange County Water District and the Disneyland Resort. Please visit www.ocwatersummit.com to register and learn more about the event program.

OCWD Invests in Environmental Education

The Orange County Water District's Groundwater Guardian Team, which includes OCWD, Disneyland Resort and the National Water Research Institute, hosted the 18th annual Children's Water Education Festival March 26-27, 2014 at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). Nearly 7,000 third, fourth and fifth grade Orange County students attended the free field trip to learn about water and the environment; all curriculum corresponded to California Science Standards.

The drought was a primary topic, as well as the need to practice lifelong water-use efficiency. In California, we are expected to experience droughts three out of every ten years. Knowing this probability OCWD and its partners invested in teaching youth how to prepare for and respond to these conditions.

Since its inception, the Festival has empowered more than 100,000 students to protect the environment, while also exposing them to career opportunities in environmental and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.

Thanks to the generosity of this year's sponsors, especially event title sponsor Used Oil Recycling, the success of this important educational event endured. In addition to monetary and in-kind donations, conducting a Festival of this size requires more than 600 volunteers, staff and presenters. We thank the many organizations and individuals who came together and took the time to invest in the environmental education of our youth.

To learn more about the event or to view a brief video, please visit www.childrenwaterfestival.com.

ACWA Releases Recommendations to Improve Groundwater Management

The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) recently issued a suite of far-reaching recommendations for improving management of groundwater basins throughout California.

The recommendations, developed by a special task force and approved by ACWA's Board of Directors on March 28, include legislative and administrative changes that strengthen groundwater management and accountability where it is deficient, provide new tools and authorities to accelerate progress by local and regional agencies, and guide enhanced state support where needed.

The recommendations call for the following:

  • New uniform requirements for groundwater management planning and performance reporting
  • Adoption of a new definition of "sustainable groundwater management" in state law
  • A menu of best management practices for implementing groundwater management plans
  • New tools and authorities for local groundwater management agencies
  • New state administrative measures to ensure local groundwater management accountability
  • A funding approach to support local capacity building and implementation
  • Comprehensive state action to remove impediments to surface water supply reliability

ACWA's recommendations come as discussions continue in the regulatory and legislative arenas to identify ways to address potentially unsustainable declines in groundwater levels and degraded groundwater quality in some basins of the state. The drought has brought the problem into even sharper focus. The full text of ACWA's recommendations is available on its website: ACWA Recommendations for Achieving Groundwater Sustainability.

April Celebrated Earth Day

Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22, on which day events worldwide are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.

OCWD is committed to being a steward of the environment and was proud to participate in this year's Downtown Disney's Earth Day event. Earth Day is a reminder that we must all do our part to protect the environment and precious resources, especially water.

Please remember to make every day Earth Day and commit to protect the environment! Let us also take this opportunity to recall that earlier this year Governor Brown declared a drought emergency in the state of California and asked that everyone voluntarily reduce their water use by 20 percent. Please do your part! For information about how to use water wisely visit www.saveourh2o.org.

April and May Employee of the Month (EOM)

The OCWD employee of the month program was established to recognize outstanding District employees and to acknowledge their contributions to OCWD.The program commends employees for exemplary work, dedication and innovation.

OCWD's April EOM was John Pham, network administrator. John recently performed outstanding work on the computer replacement and upgrade project during the month of March. He initiated and took the lead on taking inventory of all District computers that required upgrading and/or replacing. In fact, he performed a significant number of the necessary upgrades himself. John is a team player and is always pleasant to work with. He was instrumental in the success of this project. Congratulations John!

Linda Koki, senior GIS analyst, is the May EOM. In addition to Linda's regular duties, she worked with the information systems department to develop a custom tool to electronically upload geophysical logs from newly drilled wells into the database. Prior to development of this tool, geophysical logs were manually digitized from paper copies, typically requiring a few hours per well. With the new tool, the geophysical logs for a given well can be uploaded and checked within minutes, saving many hours of staff time and preserving the accuracy of the original logs. Linda spent many hours trouble-shooting the custom tool prior to its implementation. It is currently being used by District staff and has increased operational efficiency. Congratulations Linda!

March and April Tours

Nearly 1,000 guests toured the GWRS and other OCWD facilities in March and April. Following is a list of those groups and individuals: conference attendees from the American Water Works Association (AWWA); students from Beckman High School; staff from Black & Veatch and the City of Santa Monica; Cal Poly San Luis Obispo students and staff from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California; engineering students from California State University, Fullerton (CSUF); health science students from CSUF; nursing students from CSUF; students from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB); nursing students from CSULB; a delegation from China; representatives of the City of Santee and Padre Dam Municipal Water District; students from Coastline Community College; representatives from Destin Haus LLC; students from Estancia High School, in association with Orange County Coastkeepers; ecology students from Golden West College; Huntington Beach High School students; Katella High School students; Magnolia High School students; staff from the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD); members of the Osher Life Long Learning Institute; staff from Parsons and the City of San Diego; a group of professors and students from Pennsylvania State University; students from Pomona College; members of the public tour; students from San Bernardino Valley College; executive staff from the Santa Clarita Water District; staff from San Diego County Supervisor Diane Jacob's office, California Senator Joel Anderson's office, the Padre Dam Municipal Water District, the City of Santee, Helix Water District, the City of El Cajon, and the Regional Water Quality Control Board; staff from Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen's office; two groups of students from Academy Charter School in Santa Ana; staff from the Wooditch Company; students from the University of California, Irvine's Exchange Program; students from the University of Southern California, School of Architecture; and attendees of the WateReuse conference.

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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