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 – Legislation Recap 2015

The Orange County Water District (OCWD; District) has a legislative team to protect the interests of the District and its 19 groundwater producers and to proactively lead the development of new state and federal water-related legislation and policies.

Director Cathy Green's Photo
In 2015, OCWD monitored 158 California state legislative bills and 20 federal measures. The District was successful in getting bills amended that helped protect OCWD's water rights, generate funding opportunities, and create greater access to energy to operate the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) more efficiently.

State bills included AB 647 (Eggman) Beneficial use: storing of water underground; SB 355 (Lara) Act to amend Section 32605 of the Public Resources Code, relating to the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy (pertains to Prop 1 grant funding for the lower Santa Ana River); and SB 551 (Wolk) Water and Energy Efficiency.

Three state and federal measures, SB 758 (Block) Atmospheric Rivers Research, S. 1331 (Thune) Improved Seasonal Forecasts, and S. 813 (Walters) Fixing Operations of Reservoirs to Encompass Climatic and Atmospheric Science Trends, were also successfully amended to modernize weather and runoff forecasting to maximize stormwater capture at Prado Dam. Read More...

OCWD Helps Protect Groundwater Quality
EPA Presents its Role in Preserving Soundness of Groundwater Basin on Dec. 16

Water consumers in north and central Orange County are served a blend of two types of water: groundwater provided by the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) and imported water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD). Though the amount varies, approximately 2/3 of the water demand is met from the large underground aquifers found in the Orange County Groundwater Basin that is managed by OCWD. While the District is typically known as a water supply agency, it has an equal role in providing high-quality water.

Orange County groundwater supplies have been strained by the four-year drought, ongoing threats of seawater intrusion and two contamination locations that could compromise the safety of the water that provides the needs for 2.4 million people. OCWD, through its Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS), has been successfully managing the first two challenges. Read More...

Operation Santa Claus Underway at OCWD

Operation Santa Claus is underway at the Orange County Water District and is an opportunity to bring smiles to the faces of the underprivileged in Orange County during the holiday season.

For more than 20 years, OCWD Staff Accountant Donna Pike has volunteered to head up the District's effort to support the annual holiday clothing and toy drive, which benefits the County of Orange Operation Santa Claus program.

Operation Santa Claus provides gifts to children who have been placed in foster care, as well as to low-income seniors and adults with disabilities who are served by the County of Orange Social Services Agency, Health Care Agency, Probation Department, Child Support Services, and OC Community Resources. Read More...

Weir Pond Rehabilitation Project Completed November 2015

The Weir Pond Rehabilitation Project, which includes demolition and rebuilding of a flume and weirs 1 and 2 and the installation of new drain slide gates and pressure transducer systems, will be completed this month.

A weir is a structure typically built to regulate river flows. The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) manages four weirs and ponds, which make up the Weir Pond System.

The Weir Pond System removes sediment from Santa Ana River flows prior to delivery of the water into the District’s groundwater recharge basins. This de-silting process increases groundwater recharge by slowing the percolation decay rates caused by sediments in Santa Ana River water. Read More...

La Palma Recharge Basin Construction Begins

Active construction of the Orange County Water District’s (OCWD; District) new La Palma Recharge Basin has recently begun and will continue into the late summer of 2016. The basin is located north of La Palma Avenue, east of the Carbon Creek Diversion Channel, and south of Miraloma Avenue in the City of Anaheim.

La Palma will join Miller, Kraemer and Miraloma basins that receive and percolate pure Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) product water into the Orange County Groundwater Basin which provides 2/3 of the water needs to residents and businesses in north and central Orange County. La Palma will be one of only two basins (Miraloma being the second) that is dedicated to receiving GWRS water. The other basins also capture rainwater, Santa Ana River (SAR) water and untreated imported water. They are part of a system of more than 20 surface water recharge facilities.

Having the additional recharge capacity for GWRS water will free up other basins to recharge Santa Ana River baseflows and stormflows along with untreated imported water. This becomes even more critical should the proposed final expansion of the GWRS treatment plant come online. Read More...

Groundwater Protection Plan Monthly Update

Toxic industrial chemicals impact an area in the North Basin (near Fullerton, Anaheim and Placentia) and the South Basin (near Santa Ana, Tustin and Irvine) of the Orange County Groundwater Basin that supplies about 2/3 of the drinking water for 2.4 million people in north and central Orange County. Legacy contaminant plumes are spreading and threaten to impact the drinking water aquifer. Five water wells have already been removed from service. The Orange County Water District, which manages the basin, is proactively seeking ways to clean up the pollution in a united effort with local and national regulatory agencies. To date, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is taking the lead in the North Basin. The Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) and the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) are taking the lead in the South Basin. OCWD is presenting a monthly update to inform readers of ongoing efforts for these and other potential threats.

OCWD Director of Special Projects Bill Hunt, Chief Hydrogeologist Roy Herndon, and Principal Hydrogeologist David Bolin met last month with Dot Lofstrom, division chief with the State Department of Toxic Substances Control; Kurt Berchtold, executive officer of the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board; and attorneys from both agencies to discuss the relative roles of the regulators and the impacted water agencies in addressing groundwater contamination in the South Basin area. A coordinated approach with regular meetings was deemed essential and agreed to by all participants.

OCWD staff also attended the Stringfellow Advisory Committee meeting. The USEPA and the State Department of Toxic Substances Control continue to construct new monitoring wells to more fully characterize a perchlorate plume and identify sources of contamination in the groundwater at this federal Superfund Site in San Bernardino County. OCWD continues to monitor site cleanup as the perchlorate plume has migrated toward the Santa Ana River, a source of water for the Orange County Groundwater Basin.

WACO Explores El Niño

Representatives from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) were featured speakers at the November 6 Water Advisory Committee of Orange County (WACO) program El Niño: Are We Prepared?

Dr. Michael Gunson, Global Change & Energy Program manager & Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 Project scientist from JPL noted that this current El Niño is comparable to those in 1982-83 and 1997-98, which both experienced very wet winters.

Atmospheric rivers, narrow regions in the atmosphere which transport water vapors, bring most of the precipitation to the west coast of California. Major impacts from rainfall are related to the flux, direction, duration and spatial extent of a storm. In addition, while water surface temperatures are rising, bringing unique fish species to the Pacific coastline, the warm water front makes predicting this winter’s weather more difficult. Above average ocean temperatures can alter the path of the jet stream and winter storms that travel along it. Read More...

Out in the Community

H2Orange County's Logo
As part of its standard to forge and maintain long-term, positive and proactive relationships with members of the local community and greater water industry and to be transparent about its operations and programs, OCWD board members and staff speak regularly before civic groups and at events. OCWD participated in the following during October:
  • President Cathy Green gave a presentation to the Kiwanis of Fountain Valley about the status of the groundwater basin, groundwater supplies and the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) Initial Expansion.
  • Lab Director Lee Yoo provided presentations about the GWRS to the Seoul Water Institute, Young Nam University and attendees of the World Water Cities Forum.
  • Recharge Planning Manager Adam Hutchinson participated in the Groundwater Regulation in California Conference. He presented about strategies for achieving sustainable groundwater basins.
  • General Manager Mike Markus participated in the 2015 Environmental Training Symposium and Conference. He served on a panel titled “Regional Sustainable Water Supply.”
  •

OCWD in the News

OCWD continues to be recognized for its leadership in the water industry. Below are a few of the District’s recent media highlights:

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 water industry and the District family.

New Hires

Yvette Huynh
Laboratory Intern

Cody Storm
Legislative Affairs Intern

Christopher Druck
GIS Intern


Greg Wietki
Senior Instrumentation & Electrical Technician
Retired after 27 years of service

October Tours

Thank you to the more than 400 hundred guests that toured OCWD’s facilities in October:

Senator Janet Nguyen and OCWD Director Roman Reyna enjoy GWRS water.
Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido (far right), OCWD GM Mike Markus and Director Roman Reyna (far left) and guests tour the GWRS.

California State Senator Janet Nguyen; Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido and a group of east coast water professionals; students from Saddleback College, San Bernardino Valley College, a Cypress College engineering class, a Cal State Fullerton (CSUF) Health Science Class, the CSUF nursing program, a CSUF Geology class, the Cal State Long Beach nursing program; representatives from MWH Global and the Choong Nam Government in South Korea; executives from the Sanikleen Group in Japan; marketing executives from Bank of America; staff from the Municipal Water District of Orange County and the County of Orange, OC Waste and Recycling; members of the Water Environment Research Foundation, the Water Education Foundation, Singapore’s Public Utilities Board, Law Seminars International, and those of the general public.

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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