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 - Responding to the Grand Jury Report

The 968th Quartermaster Company, US Army Reserves based in Tustin toured recently. They are members of the water purification unit and are shown here with Board President Shawn Dewane. OCWD thanks you for your service to our country.
In May, the Orange County Grand Jury released a report titled Sustainable and Reliable Orange County Water Supply: Another Endangered Species? As the region's groundwater sustainability agency, the Orange County Water District commends the Grand Jury's efforts to investigate and report on the complex issue of water supply and reliability in Orange County.

At the District's board of directors meeting on August 20, the board approved an official response to the Grand Jury, an action it is legally obligated to perform. OCWD's responses to the report findings and recommendations recognized that the first priority for sustainable water resource management should be to maximize the recycled water supply and the District is doing just this.

In Southern California alone, 1.3 billion gallons of treated wastewater is lost to the ocean every day. Working together with the Orange County Sanitation District, the two agencies are maximizing this resource as OCWD expands the world's (already) largest water reuse project, the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS). The project uses a three-step advanced purification process to treat sewer water to drinking water standards.

In 2015, the GWRS will bring 100 million gallons of water per day to the region—enough water for 850,000 people annually. And we aren't stopping there; the District is also exploring the feasibility of a final expansion in an effort to provide continued water reliability to the region. If voters pass a water bond in the November 2014 election, $750 million will be available to, possibly, fund the final expansion, as well as other similar projects throughout California.

OCWD's responses to the Grand Jury also emphasized its support for additional actions that would bring water reliability to the region, including restoring imported water supplies to Southern California, exploring alternative water supply projects like ocean desalination, implementing additional water recycling projects throughout the region, and improving the coordination and integration of groundwater and imported water supplies in Orange County.

These responses underscore OCWD's commitment to appropriately invest in and plan for a high quality and reliable water supply for Orange County; a function it has been successfully doing since 1933. Through this endeavor, collaboration with other agencies, stakeholders and dedicated citizens, such as the members of the Orange County Grand Jury, is critical. In fact, the new Grand Jury that began its term July 1 already toured OCWD, the GWRS and the Advanced Water Quality Assurance Laboratory in early September.

The District appreciates its engagement in an effort to advance water reliability for the region. To read the Grand Jury's report, please visit the Orange County Grand Jury site. Click on OCWD's Grand Jury Response to read the Districts official reply.

Governor Brown Signs Historic Groundwater Legislation

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. has recently signed historic legislation to strengthen local management and monitoring of groundwater basins to help protect, maximize and sustain the state's groundwater supplies.

The three bills signed by the Governor—AB 1739 by Assemblymember Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento) and Senate Bills 1168 and 1319 by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) – create a framework for sustainable, local groundwater management for the first time in California history. The legislation allows local agencies to tailor sustainable groundwater plans to their regional economic and environmental needs.

California was the only Western state not officially managing its groundwater and there was a pump-as-you-please approach in many locales. The new bills will address over drafting, or over pumping of the groundwater that can lead to contamination, damaged aquifers, seawater intrusion, and subsidence, or collapsing lands. The bills are intended to take a balanced approach—to protect property rights and incentivize local control while ensuring and protecting a sustainable supply of groundwater. The new laws take effect in January and call for aggressive goals—for locals to adopt an approved plan by 2020 and to have groundwater sustainability by 2040.

According to OCWD Board President Shawn Dewane, "This historic step is a solid starting point that will help safeguard groundwater supplies, throughout the state, for future generations." OCWD General Manager Mike Markus added, "The Orange County Water District has long-ago adopted management plans for our groundwater basin. We have been called to the state capitol regarding our expertise and we applaud this much-needed legislation."

Director Cathy Green was invited to be a part of the historic signing. Under the new law, OCWD will continue to be the region's Groundwater Sustainability Agency responsible for managing the Orange County Groundwater Basin.

For full text of the bills, visit:

Fourteenth Biennial Symposium on Managed Aquifer Recharge

The 14th annual Biennial Symposium on Managed Aquifer Recharge took place on July 31 and August 1 in Orange, Calif. It was hosted by the Groundwater Resources Association of California (GRA) and the Arizona Hydrological Society. Orange County Water District's Recharge Planning Manager Adam Hutchinson, who is a GRA board member, chaired the planning committee for this event. The symposium included two field workshops, one to the Groundwater Replenishment System and one to OCWD's surface spreading system. A total of 136 people attended from 12 states and three countries. Director Cathy Green introduced the keynote speaker, Lester Snow of the California Water Foundation, at the Herman Bouwer Awards luncheon on July 31. OCWD Principal Hydrogeologist John Bonsangue, presented on the "Practical Approaches to Maintaining Well Efficiency" and Senior Scientist Grisel Rodriguez presented on "Monitoring the Effectiveness of Sediment Removal Ponds in Reducing Suspended Solids Concentrations Prior to Recharge."


Regular collaboration with other experts in the field is important to keeping the District abreast of potential and emerging problems and developing innovative and efficient solutions to aquifer management.

Children's Water Education Festival - Registration is Now Open

The 19th annual Children's Water Education Festival will take place March 25-26, 2015 at the University of California, Irvine. The Festival, the largest of its kind in the nation, is presented by the Orange County Water District, Disneyland Resort, National Water Research Institute, and the OCWD Groundwater Guardian Team. The Festival educates third, fourth and fifth grade Orange County students about local water issues and helps them understand how they can protect water supplies and the environment. Nearly 7,000 students will learn about the interdependence of water, soil, plants, trees, animals, and humans through more than 60 interactive and fun-filled presentations. This educational and empowering event would not be possible without our family of supporters! Registration is now open for schools, presenters and volunteers. A variety of sponsorship opportunities are also available. Please visit the Children's Water Education Festival site to learn more.

OCWD $3.2 Billion Economic Impact

According to the National Economic and Labor Impacts of the Water Utility Sector technical report published in August 2014 by the Water Research Foundation and the Water Environment Research Foundation, the Orange County Water District's operations and capital plan investments contribute significantly to the local economy, in terms of both output ($) and employment (jobs). OCWD's estimated economic contribution to the region totals $3.2 billion over the next decade, supporting 1,500 jobs per year.

"Making appropriate investments in managing the groundwater basin has long been a core value of the District. To have this affirmation of our positive impacts on Orange County strengthens our resolve to continue on our current path," stated OCWD General Manager Mike Markus.

The District provides water services to 2.4 million people across 358 square miles, supplying 286 million gallons of water per day. OCWD was one of 30 utilities featured in this analysis. National Economic & Labor Impacts of the Water Utility Sector Technical Report

OCWD Sound Planning and Investment Projects

Sound planning and investment are among key standards that drive the decisions and activities of OCWD to provide a reliable, high-quality water supply to Orange County citizens and businesses in a cost-effective and environmentally-sensitive manner. The District's proactive approach to planning and investment has already resulted in a groundwater basin that is protected against seawater intrusion and has doubled in yield over the last 10 years. Work has recently begun on two regional water reliability projects.

Santiago Creek Pipeline Project

The Santiago Creek Pipeline runs underneath the cities of Anaheim and Orange to transport water between two critical groundwater basins: Burris and Santiago Creek. Pumping water away from Burris Basin enables it to hold more stormwater and runoff, ultimately increasing the county's water supply.

Construction is underway near the intersection of Collins Avenue and Tustin Street in Santa Ana to install a manhole above the Santiago Creek Pipeline in order to access the pipeline for routine maintenance. This month-long project is important to maximizing the performance of OCWD's recharge operations.

Burris Pump Station Phase II

The Orange County Water District owns and manages more than two dozen recharge basins. Four are deep recharge basins, including Burris Basin in Anaheim, that are vital components of collecting surface water to replenish groundwater supplies.

The second phase of the Burris Basin Pump Station Replacement Project began this month and, barring inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances, is due for completion at the end of November 2016. The project includes building a new pump station in Burris Basin - an artificial lake along the Santa Ana River between Lincoln Avenue and Ball Road in Anaheim. Additionally, the project will demolish the existing pump station, which has reached the end of its useful life span.

The water level in Burris Basin will be lowered to varying elevations during construction and will be refilled to its normal operating level in fall of 2016 upon the project's completion. As part of its commitment to environmental stewardship, OCWD invested $130,000 to create a floating island in the basin to minimize the impact to nesting birds. One can watch the birds from Anaheim Coves, a park built by the City of Anaheim and OCWD that meanders along the west side of Burris Basin.

For more information about these or other regional water reliability projects, please call the OCWD Construction Hotline at (714) 378-8244 or email info@ocwd.com. For updated project information, please refer to the OCWD's Construction Updates page.

Out in the Community

Director Jan Flory and General Manager Mike Markus gave a presentation to the North Orange County Legislative Alliance about the Orange County Water District, the Groundwater Replenishment System, and the North Basin Groundwater Protection Plan.
Director Vincent Sarmiento and Principal Hydrogeologist David Bolin provided a presentation to the Santa Ana North Rotary Club about OCWD, GWRS and the South Basin Groundwater Protection Plan.
Director Phil Anthony spoke to the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce about the District, the GWRS and upcoming projects in the City of Seal Beach.

Photo caption: Cypress Chamber Board Chairman David McDonald (second from right) with Director Anthony (right), Executive Director John Kennedy and Public Affairs staff member Diane Pinnick

Directors Anthony and Roger Yoh, with OCWD Executive Director of Engineering & Local Resources John Kennedy, presented to the Cypress Chamber of Commerce about groundwater, the Groundwater Replenishment System and the drought.
President Shawn Dewane gave a presentation to the Rotary Club of Laguna Beach that included information about OCWD, the GWRS and the drought.
Director Denis Bilodeau presented information to the Rotary Club of Orange about OCWD, the GWRS, area projects, and a drought update.
Public Affairs staff participated in a Green Fair for the employees of Alcoa Fastening Systems located in Fullerton. They hosted a table on behalf of the District where they distributed information and spoke to guests about OCWD and the GWRS.

Upcoming Community Events
We encourage you to mark your calendars for the following water supply briefings in your community:

  • Oct. 8, 7 p.m. City of Westminster—Speakers: Director Phil Anthony and General Manager Mike Markus
  • Oct. 14, 8 a.m. City of Newport Beach—Speaker: Director Steve Sheldon
  • Oct. 16, 7:30 a.m. Kiwanis Club of Greater Anaheim—Speakers: Director Harry Sidhu and Prinicipal Hydrogeologist Dave Mark
  • Oct. 22, 5 p.m. Anaheim Public Utilities Board—Speakers: Director Harry Sidhu and General Manager Mike Markus
  • Oct. 28, 5 p.m. City of Irvine—Speakers: Director Steve Sheldon and General Manager Mike Markus
  • Oct. 30, 8 a.m. City of Costa Mesa—Speaker: Director Steve Sheldon

For additional information or to book a speaker, please contact Rose Wilke at (714) 378-3206 or rwilke@ocwd.com.

In the News

OCWD Employees

September 2014 Employee of the Month Frank Simone

The OCWD Board recognizes Frank Simone as the District's September 2014 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 teamwork, cost-saving ideas, and a high level of dedication to their work. The District recognizes OCWD employees as the source of its strength, reputation and innovation.

Buyer Frank Simone, OCWD employee of the month for September, does his job with "extreme buying POWER," according to his manager Bonnie Howard. Frank is admired for his calm, cool and determined attitude to get any request fulfilled. Among his many accomplishments, Frank located a new vendor for the supply of helium and nitrogen for the lab resulting in a savings of approximately $40,000 per year. He also set up the liquid argon for bulk delivery, which saved the District $13,000 annually and increased safety.

He is a purchasing team member that negotiates the best prices and timeliness of delivery and researches and promotes product safety—all part of OCWD's commitment to sound planning and cost-effective investments. Congratulations Frank!

August Tours

Tours of the Groundwater Replenishment System for the month of August included members of the City of Los Angeles Harbor Department; CDM Smith, Inc. Engineering Consulting Firm staff; Chinese scholars visiting Cal Poly Pomona, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California interns; nursing students from California State University, Fullerton; nursing students from Vanguard University; students from the University of California, Irvine's extension program; a Japanese delegation from the Water Resources Department of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism; a public tour; a Japanese delegation of exchange students from the University of California, Irvine; a group from UC Riverside and Mokpo National University; Jacquelyn Gonzalez and Eduardo Lerma, staff members to Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez; the 968th Quartermaster Company, US Army Reserves; and the Association of California Water Agencies Joint Powers Insurance Authority.

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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