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.

Drought Stimulates
Interest in the GWRS

It isn't often that indirect potable reuse (IPR) gets so much interest from a myriad of people outside the water industry. Resiliency to the severe drought, now in its fourth year, has been one of the major urgencies for the state of California and its citizens. With the June 1 mandatory water consumption cutbacks, IPR is a viable solution for some, an important water portfolio component for others and a hot topic spurred by the media.

OCWD Director Denis Bilodeau with Miss California
contestants L to R: Caylynn Simonson, Paula Verkuylen,
and Bree Morse. Bree Morse was name Miss California
on June 28.

The Orange County Water District (OCWD) is no stranger to the media. Over the past year, staff has fielded more than 150 inquiries, resulting in more than 1,000 positive stories.

Recently, it has been inundated with calls from news sources who want to report about the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS).

"Recent calls for interviews have come in from media across the country, including CBS This Morning, the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, and New York Times" says Eleanor Torres, director of Public Affairs for OCWD. "It doesn't stop there. We have received a flood of tour requests from civic leaders, politicians and others wanting to educate themselves about the GWRS."

Among recent tour participants were three pageant titleholders, Paula Verkuylen (Miss City of Orange), Bree Morse (Miss Orange Coast) and Caylynn Simonson (Miss Orange County). They competed for the title of Miss California and it was recently announced that Bree Morse received the title. She will go on to represent California at the Miss America contest in September.

One of the most important aspects of the Miss America competition is a 10-minute personal interview each young woman has with the panel of judges. It is press conference style and the topics of discussion are wide. "Since the state competition is held in Fresno, where agriculture is such a mainstay, we know the drought and the Governor's new conservation standards will potentially be big issues during the interview," says Connie Benson, executive director of the Miss Orange pageant. She brought the three Miss California hopefuls after contacting OCWD Director Denis Bilodeau, who represents the City of Orange. "The recent GWRS tour helped inform the young ladies about a key solution to help combat the water shortage. To have a world-renowned source in their own backyard and to see and learn firsthand is an opportunity that they couldn't pass up," says Director Bilodeau.

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 the Groundwater Replenishment System Tours & Speakers Bureau page to schedule a tour online.