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 — Proposition 1 Water Bond

The Orange County Water District (OCWD) Board of Directors voted to support the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Act of 2014 (Water Bond) at its general board meeting on September 17. This general obligation bond measure will appear on the November 2014 ballot as Proposition 1.

If approved by voters, the bond measure would allocate $7.545 billion towards statewide water projects and programs as part of a comprehensive water plan for the state of California. It would provide targeted funding for new surface and groundwater storage projects, regional water reliability, sustainable groundwater management and cleanup, water recycling, ocean desalination, water conservation, watershed protection, and safe drinking water, particularly for disadvantaged communities.

California's severe, multi-year drought emphasizes the need for improvements to the state's water system. The Water Bond will help to ensure a stable, high-quality and reliable water supply for an arid and drought-prone California.

The District Board, in voting to support Proposition 1, was guided by the water bond principles it adopted earlier this year. Is it a perfect water bond? While guidelines for grant funding are loosely mentioned throughout the text, one of the principles we hoped would have been incorporated was to include specific criteria which must be met before a project obtains funding. The specific criteria could include cost-effectiveness, a project proponent's ability to implement the project, specific timelines for project implementation, and a high level of measureable benefits. We are hopeful that these types of criteria will ultimately become part of strict funding guidelines during the development of the grant process and we will advocate for that during stakeholder meetings.

That being said, the Water Bond offers many opportunities for the District to compete for funding to support our efforts in multiple areas: groundwater storage, recharge, cleanup, stormwater capture, desalination, water reuse, etc. If the bond is approved by voters, staff will carefully monitor funding opportunities, participate in relevant workshops and submit applications for qualifying grants.

In effect, Proposition 1 will provide funding opportunities to help the Orange County Water District increase its water supplies, protect and restore its watersheds and protect its water quality. It could allow us to expedite groundwater cleanup efforts, expand current projects like the Groundwater Replenishment System or begin new ones that help the environment and address water reliability and quality—hallmarks of the District.

Proposition 1 wasn't put on the ballot in haste as a panacea or as a knee-jerk reaction brought on by the current drought. It is the product of more than five years of discussions and negotiations among state lawmakers, stakeholders and others to craft a responsible bond measure to fund needed investments as part of a statewide comprehensive water plan for California. Legislation placing the measure on the ballot was approved on a near unanimous, bipartisan vote by the Legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Aug. 13. Supported by a broad coalition of water, business, conservation, labor, and agriculture organizations, the $7.545 billion bond replaces an $11.14 billion measure previously slated for the November ballot.

Although the Water Bond won't fill all the state's needs to reinforce its increasingly strained water supply, it could help Orange County achieve its policy goal of greater independence from imported water supplies.

Mike Markus Elected to AAWRE Board of Trustees

The American Academy of Water Resources Engineers (AAWRE) recently elected Mike Markus, P.E., BCEE, D.WRE, F.ASCE as the 2014 President-Elect. He will fill the board seat being vacated by out-going Past-President Rob Traver. Mike is currently serving as AAWRE Treasurer, a role he has undertaken since 2012. The terms of service as President-Elect will begin this October 25 during the AAWRE fall Board of Trustees meeting in Monrovia, CA, and continue through fall 2017.

According to Mike, "Managing our nation's water resources has always been one of the greatest challenges our profession has faced and these challenges will be even greater in the future. AAWRE Diplomates must look at creating sustainable solutions that include the study of societal, economic, regulatory, and environmental impacts to water resources. I believe that AAWRE can drive the national debate that will frame the policies of how our water resources are managed in the future."

AAWRE's mission is to improve the practice, elevate the standards and advance the profession of water resources engineering by certifying engineers with specialized knowledge in water resources, recognizing the ethical practice of water resources engineering at the expert level, encouraging continued professional development for engineers, and supporting positions on water resources issues important to the public health. For more information about AAWRE, visit http://www.aawre.org.

OCWD Needs You for Children's Water Education Festival

The Children's Water Education Festival is an annual event that educates third, fourth and fifth grade Orange County students about how they can protect water supplies and the environment, while empowering them to make a difference in their communities. The Festival, now in its 19th year, would not be possible without the generous support of the community. You have the opportunity to be a part of this exciting event as a sponsor, presenter, teacher or volunteer.

Sponsors – Promote your business while receiving a tax deduction
Presenters – Make a student's learning experience come alive through a hands-on activity
Teachers – Sign up your class to attend this free educational event
Volunteers – Help promote environmental education while having fun

The Festival will be held March 25-26, 2015 at the University of California, Irvine. It is presented by the Orange County Water District, Disneyland Resort, National Water Research Institute, and OCWD Groundwater Guardian Team. For more information or to register, please visit www.ChildrenWaterFestival.com and we invite you to view the video Orange County's Children's Water Education Festival/Field Trip.

Harvesting Vegetation at Prado Wetlands

The District owns and operates wetlands behind Prado Dam. A portion of the Santa Ana River is diverted through the wetlands. The water receives natural treatment, which removes nitrates and other constituents.

A seasonal focus for Prado Operations is harvesting vegetation in treatment ponds to re-establish the ratio of open water areas to those planted with cattails and bulrush. Maintaining this ratio is critical to optimizing nitrate removal from Santa Ana River water supplies.

The wetlands project allows OCWD to improve water quality beyond regulatory requirements. By taking this proactive and innovative approach, OCWD improves groundwater quality, enhances the environment and minimizes treatment costs.

One of the tools used to remove vegetation in the most densely planted areas is a bulldozer, shown here, fitted with a slotted rake-like blade that is able to gather plants without moving soil.

Great California Shakeout—Purifying Water After an Emergency

Map source: Water Replenishment District of Southern California

Since 1933, the same year that the Orange County Water District was created, there have been about 23 significant earthquakes of magnitude 5.9 or greater. On average, a major earthquake hits every 150 years. If you look at the adjacent map and years of the largest recent quakes, you'll see that Southern California is long overdue.

The Great California Shakeout—an annual opportunity to practice how to be safer during big earthquakes—took place on Oct. 16. It's a yearly event that encourages us to learn more about safety measures. You can view its site and get some important resources at www.shakeout.org/california.

But, what does one do if household water becomes contaminated due to an emergency, such as an earthquake? OCWD Risk and Safety Manager Paula Bouyounes says, "The best thing to do is to plan ahead and store enough bottled water in advance. Purchase bottled water or store drinking water in plastic containers. Store one gallon of water per person per day (drinking, food preparation, sanitation). Keep a two-week supply of water for each person in your household. If none is available, follow the water treating methods outlined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), below."

Boiling or chlorination will kill most microorganisms but will not remove other contaminants such as heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals. Before treating, let any suspended particles settle to the bottom, or strain them through layers of paper towel, clean cloth or coffee filter.


Boiling is the safest method of treating water. In a large pot or kettle, bring water to a rolling boil for 1 full minute, keeping in mind that some water will evaporate. Let the water cool before drinking.

Boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back into it by pouring the water back and forth between two clean containers. This will also improve the taste of stored water.


You can use household liquid bleach to kill microorganisms. Use only regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25 to 6.0 percent sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, colorsafe bleaches, or bleaches with added cleaners. Because the potency of bleach diminishes with time, use bleach from a newly opened or unopened bottle.

Add 16 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes. The water should have a slight bleach odor. If it doesn't, then repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes. If it still does not smell of bleach, discard it and find another source of water.

Other chemicals, such as iodine or water treatment products (sold in camping or surplus stores) that do not contain 5.25 to 6.0 percent sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient, are not recommended and should not be used.


While the two methods described above will kill most microorganisms in water, distillation will remove microorganisms that resist these methods, as well as heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals.

Distillation involves boiling water and then collecting the vapor that condenses back to water. The condensed vapor will not include salt or most other impurities. To distill, fill a pot halfway with water. Tie a cup to the handle on the pot's lid so that the cup will hang right-side-up when the lid is upside-down (make sure the cup is not dangling into the water), and boil the water for 20 minutes. The water that drips from the lid into the cup is distilled.

For more information about food and water in an emergency, we encourage you to visit: http://www.fema.gov/pdf/library/f&web.pdf

OCWD 82nd Anniversary

Once the Orange County Water District was formed by the District Act in 1933, it began to make historic improvements to Orange County's water supply. This month celebrates OCWD's 82nd Anniversary as the manager of the vast Orange County Groundwater Basin and steward of Orange County's rights to Santa Ana River water. The District's mission is to provide local water retailers in north and central Orange County with a reliable, high-quality water supply at the lowest reasonable cost in an environmentally responsible manner. Over the years, OCWD has fulfilled its mission with innovative firsts that were answers to a myriad of challenges. Here are just a few:

  • In 1952, OCWD created the Orange County Water Basin Committee to protect groundwater from saltwater intrusion and replenish both the annual and long-term groundwater depletion.
  • OCWD's policy during the 1960s was to fill the basin to keep out seawater and ensure an adequate supply of fresh water.
  • In 1965, imported water was injected into the Alamitos Seawater Barrier for the first time.
  • By 1975, Water Factory 21 was online. A showcase for wastewater reuse, it reduced water discharged to the ocean and the District's dependency on imported water, and provided water needed to keep out saltwater intrusion. It also helped lower the cost of water. The system won international acclaim as the largest operating reverse osmosis plant.
  • From the mid-1970s to the present day, the District has developed guidelines, pipelines, created wetlands, acquired land, and managed a number of recharge projects to collect water for the groundwater basin and protect it from overdraft during Orange County's population boom.
  • In 2008, the Groundwater Replenishment System replaced Water Factory 21—supplying even more water to the seawater barriers to prevent saltwater intrusion and creating a new source of drinking water—enough for 600,000 people.
  • The District looks forward to future technologies and programs that will continue to advance its mission. We can look forward to completion of the initial expansion phase of GWRS that will provide 30 million more gallons a day—enough water for 850,000 people—in early 2015. OCWD is conducting water quality and planning studies for final expansion. With the completion of that final expansion, OCWD will be able to meet the water needs of more than one million people in north and central Orange County. OCWD embraces the next 82 years!

SWAT Team Maneuvers at OCWD

Volunteers and members of the County of Orange Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team recently conducted training at OCWD's old laboratory building that is scheduled for demolition.

The City of Fountain Valley, the District and McCarthy (the GWRS Initial Expansion general contractor) worked together to allow the County of Orange SWAT team to use the old OCWD laboratory for its recent training. The old lab is scheduled to be demolished as part of the GWRSIE project. The SWAT team used "simunition" pellet guns for its training and running drills within the building. The Fountain Valley Fire Department also participated in the drill. OCWD was happy to provide the facilities to further the SWAT Team training and preparation. As a member of the Fountain Valley community, OCWD strives to be a good neighbor.

Out in the Community

  • Director Steve Sheldon and Principal Hydrogeologist David Bolin provided a presentation to the Sea and Sage Audubon Society about OCWD, its groundwater cleanup plans, conservation, and the drought.
  • Director Sheldon and Executive Director Planning and Natural Resources Greg Woodside presented at the board meeting of the Irvine Ranch Water District.
  • Director Cathy Green and Recharge Planning Manager Adam Hutchinson gave a presentation to the Fountain Valley Rotary Club about OCWD, its groundwater cleanup plans, water sources, and the drought.
  • President Shawn Dewane gave the keynote speech at Southern California Edison's 21st Annual Water Conference. The event focused on educating water and wastewater agencies about how to save energy, money and the environment.
  • Director Sheldon and David Bolin gave a presentation to the Kiwanis Club of Tustin about OCWD, its groundwater cleanup plans, water sources, and the drought.
  • Director Denis Bilodeau was a featured speaker at the City of Tustin's Water Symposium. He spoke about OCWD and the GWRS. Public Affairs staff members were also present at the event where they represented the District, spoke to attendees and distributed OCWD materials. About 250 guests attended.
  • Both Director of Public Affairs Eleanor Torres and Director of Regulatory Affairs Jason Dadakis participated on panels hosted by the WateReuse Association at the Water Environment Federation annual conference (WEFTEC) in New Orleans. Eleanor participated in a media briefing on water reuse and Jason served on a panel discussion titled "Technology Innovation, Water Quality, and Public Health: A Roundtable Discussion on Water Treatment and Recycled Water Safety." WEFTEC was attended by media from outlets including Bloomberg, Water Online, the Associated Press, the Denver Post, and Bon Appetit magazine.
  • John Kennedy attended the City of Buena Park City Council meeting and assisted the Public Works director in answering water reclamation questions in a special study session after the regular council meeting.
  • The OCWD Advanced Water Quality Assurance Laboratory staff presented the second part of the webinar, "Automated Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) for the Environmental Testing Laboratories" sponsored by LCGC magazine and Dionex Corporation. The webinar had 204 registrants from China and the Middle East. Technical questions related to operational parameters within the solid-phase extraction process to improve sample turnaround times and data quality for challenging environmental contaminants.
  • The Laboratory hosted a seminar sponsored by Polycontrols and ENDETEC to present the new automated microbiology detection system. The unit can automatically perform 16 simultaneous semi-quantitative tests for total coliform and E. coli, with minimal handling of samples. Outside agency managers and line staff attending included personnel from Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Golden State Water Company, Irvine Ranch Water District, San Diego, Long Beach, and many others. The consensus was that the product would be a useful alternative for the profession going forward.

We encourage groups, organizations, schools, and cities to Book an Expert.

The Orange County Water District Speakers Bureau offers presentations to civic and community groups, technical associations and educational institutions. Water briefings concerning the current drought, O.C. water conditions and solutions, the groundwater cleanup efforts, conservation, and District projects, including the world-renowned Groundwater Replenishment System, may be described by an OCWD board member or staff member. In addition, the presentations include information about Orange County's local water resources and the District's water management program.

If your organization would like to schedule an OCWD speaker for your next event, contact the Orange County Water District Public Affairs Department at (714) 378-3206 or send an e-mail to rwilke@ocwd.com.

Upcoming Community Events

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

  • Oct. 28, 5 p.m., City of Irvine—Speakers: Director Steve Sheldon and General Manager Mike Markus
  • Oct. 30, 6:30 p.m., Santa Ana—Speakers: Director Vincent Sarmiento and Senior Engineer Lo Tan
  • Nov. 5, 12 p.m. Buena Park Rotary—Speakers: TBD
  • Nov. 10, 12 p.m. Anaheim Rotary—Speakers: Director Harry Sidhu and Principal Hydrogeologist Dave Mark
  • Nov. 12, 7 p.m., City of Newport Beach—Speakers: Director Steve Sheldon, General Manager Mike Markus and Chief Hydrogeologist Roy Herndon
  • Nov. 25, 6:30 p.m. City of Garden Grove—Speakers: Director Philip Anthony and General Manager Mike Markus

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

OCWD's employees are its most valuable resources. It is committed to recruiting the best and enriching their lives to grow within the industry and the District family. OCWD welcomes the following new employees and bids farewell to a valued worker:

New Employees for September 2014

Thai Mai Laboratory Intern
Jon Rishi Environmental Specialist-Field Biologist

September 2014 Retiree

Following 21 years of service with the Orange County Water District, Chemist Kaukaba Naggar (center) has retired. OCWD wishes her well in her retirement and success in all future endeavors.

September Tours

Tours of the Groundwater Replenishment System for the month of September included nursing students from Cal State Long Beach; members of the Orange County Grand Jury; members of the SWA Group; a public tour; delegates of Aoi Consultants Co., Ltd. Japan; State Assembly Candidate Young Kim, members of the American Planning Association, delegates of Brenntag Pacific of Germany; San Bernardino Valley College students, a delegation from the Republic of Korea; a delegation from China; and students from Redondo Union High School.

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. You may also visit www.gwrsystem.com to schedule these activities online.

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

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