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
State Water Bond Can
Help O.C. Drought Crisis
We are currently experiencing the worst California drought ever recorded in 165 years, with no end in sight. According to one NASA scientist, if we don't take measures to conserve water now, it may run out for the 38 million people, businesses and agriculture in this state.

Recently, the Governor has called for mandatory—no longer voluntary—water-use efficiency. We need to save 25 percent. What else can be done?

Luckily, the good people of the state approved the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Act of 2014 (Water Bond; Proposition 1) in last year's election.

The bond measure allocates $7.5 billion towards statewide water projects and programs as part of a comprehensive water plan for the state of California. The funds represent a package that includes surface and groundwater storage, water recycling, watershed protection and restoration, and regional water reliability.

Legislation is not typically a speedy process. However, due to the severity and devastating effects of the drought, Governor Brown signed emergency legislation in late March 2015 -AB 91 and AB 92- that fast-tracks more than $1 billion in bond funding for drought relief and critical water infrastructure projects.

The Water Bond offers many opportunities for the Orange County Water District to compete for funding to support our efforts in multiple areas such as groundwater storage, recharge, cleanup, storm water capture, desalination, and water reuse.

The District is currently seeking bond monies and support for four major projects.

The Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) final expansion and its Mid-Basin Injection Project, when combined, will produce an additional 30 million gallons per day of new drinking water.

The District's primary responsibility is managing the vast groundwater basin under north and central Orange County that supplies water to 19 cities and water agencies. OCWD also leads the way in purification of wastewater for reuse to provide a locally-reliable, drought-proof, high-quality source of water to that basin through the GWRS.

The GWRS is the world's largest advanced water purification system for indirect potable reuse. Following completion of its initial expansion later this spring, it will produce 100 million gallons per day of highly-purified recycled water that is then injected into the groundwater basin and used for domestic drinking water—enough to satisfy the needs of more than 850,000 residents. With its final expansion, GWRS will produce about 130 million gallons per day—enough to fulfill the water needs of more than a million people at a cost of less than half of that for imported water. The District is seeking approximately $30 million in grant funding.

The Mid-Basin Injection Project will support the GWRS final expansion with water storage in the groundwater basin. Bond funding will be used for injection wells and a pipeline for a means of injecting highly-purified recycled water into the groundwater basin, which will be pumped by local cities and other water distributors for domestic use. OCWD is seeking approximately $10 million in grant funding for this project.

Although, 2.4 million Orange County residents depend on clean water supplied from the vast groundwater basin, industrial contamination has polluted parts of the basin in both the north and south regions. These areas are impacted by hazardous chemicals that threaten our local drinking water supply and the District is requesting funding for two cleanup projects.

For the North Basin Groundwater Protection Plan, OCWD is seeking $20 million in grant funding to help clean up groundwater contamination over a five-square-mile area in Fullerton, Anaheim, and Placentia. Four water wells have been removed from service because contaminants were reaching elevated levels in those wells.

For the South Basin Groundwater Protection Plan, OCWD is seeking $10 million grant funding to help clean up groundwater contamination over a two-square-mile area in Santa Ana, Tustin and Irvine. One water well has been removed from service because contaminants were reaching elevated levels in that well. The District is also working with federal and state regulatory agencies to seek cost recovery for the cleanup from responsible parties.

We know the Water Bond won't fill all the state's needs to reinforce its increasingly strained water supply, but it should help Orange County achieve its policy goal of greater independence from imported water supplies and to be better prepared for the next, inevitable, drought.