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.

Expert Panel Affirms
Effectiveness of
OCWD Monitoring

Staff from OCWD's Water Quality, Research & Development, Planning, and Regulatory Affairs departments collaborated to complete the 10th Annual OCWD Santa Ana River Water Quality Report. The report was recently reviewed by local regulators and members of the National Water Research Institute (NWRI) Independent Advisory Panel for the District's Santa Ana River Monitoring (SARMON) program at their annual review meeting.

SARMON is the District's voluntary comprehensive surface and groundwater quality monitoring program related to the use of the Santa Ana River (SAR) as a source of basin replenishment.

Highlights from the report include documenting the continued effectiveness of the soil-aquifer treatment that improves water quality during the recharge process, as well as the increasing trend in SAR total dissolved solids (TDS) concentrations. OCWD is keeping an eye on the increasing concentrations and is working within the upper watershed to better understand and manage it so there are no adverse long-term effects on Orange County groundwater.

New challenges include adapting the monitoring program so it remains effective with the declining volumes of SAR water flowing to OCWD over the last 10 years. SAR base flow (the steady year-round flow that comes to us when it's not raining) has declined more than 60 percent over this period, for a variety of reasons. OCWD has modified its recharge operations in response to these declining base flows, fundamentally changing which recharge facilities (i.e., basins) are consistently used for Santa Ana River water percolation. The District is in the process of modifying its SARMON program so it can still effectively assess groundwater quality with the changing volume and location of its SAR water recharge.

At the annual NWRI SARMON Panel meeting, OCWD staff made presentations on the water quality report, as well as on the past year's forebay recharge operations, sediment removal projects, Prado Wetlands operation and research, microbial water quality, proposed changes to laboratory methods, and proposed changes to the SARMON program in response to declining SAR flows.

Preliminary feedback from the panel was broadly positive, with formal findings and recommendations to be received in a written report from NWRI in the near future. For additional information or a copy of the report, please contact OCWD Director of Health and Regulatory Affairs Jason Dadakis: jdadakis@ocwd.com.