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.

OCWD August 2015
Legislative Update

The Orange County Water District (District) works to influence legislation and funding in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., to ensure Orange County's groundwater basin is protected and supports a reliable, affordable, and safe water supply for the 2.4 million people that it serves.

Maintaining an active presence in the government arena is a vital part of what the District does to forge and maintain long-term, positive and proactive relationships with legislative offices, support water supplies from the State Water Project and Colorado River, to expand water reuse, enable the development of new water supplies, expand the use of new technologies, and to promote water conservation. Below is a summary of some of the key legislation impacting Orange County's water supplies and OCWD's positions on them.


  • H.R 2822 Appropriations Bill: Funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF): Position: Support full funding at the President's 2016 level. The SRF provides low-interest loans and is integral to the development of large projects (including recycled water projects) in California.
  • H.R. 2898: the Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015 (Congressman Valadao). Position: Support with recommendations. H.R. 2898 provides support for water storage facilities, among many other provisions. OCWD requests additional support of desalination and water recycling projects and flexibility to capture water at federal dams during storm events, for example, at Prado Dam.
  • S. 1894 California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2015 (Senator Feinstein and co-sponsor Senator Boxer). Position: Support. OCWD is requesting funding for water recycling and desalination projects, updating weather forecasting manuals for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to support improved dam reservoir operations, and the revitalization of Title XVI funding to support new water recycling projects, which are included in the senator’s legislation.
  • H.R 813 Fixing Operations of Reservoirs to Encompass Climatic and Atmospheric Science Trends (FORECAST) Act (Huffman). Position: Support with amendments, including provisions. The bill would aid in storing additional water at Prado Dam through modernizing weather and runoff forecasting. The District would like the bill amended to allow local water districts to work with the Corps on water conservation at Prado Dam. Amendments were accepted via Senator Feinstein’s legislation.


  • AB 647 The Storage of Water Underground: Beneficial Use (Assemblymember Eggman). OCWD gained amendments that addressed concerns regarding its water right permit for the Santa Ana River, and changed its position from "Oppose if Amended" to "Support."
  • SB 355 (Senator Lara) Amendments were taken by Senator Lara that would preserve Orange County's voting representation on the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy Board. OCWD changed its position of "Support if Amended" to "Support."
  • SB 551 (Senator Wolk). This legislation now includes OCWD's proposed amendment to clarify language as it relates to energy efficiency and water projects. OCWD changed its position from "Support if Amended" to "Support.”"
  • Distribution of Proposition 1 (Water Bond) Funding. Last November, California voters passed $7.545 Billion in bond funds for water supply, recycling, groundwater cleanup, watershed improvements, stormwater, and many other benefits to address the drought.

    OCWD hosted workshops by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) & submitted comments on Chapter 9 Water Recycling and Chapter 10 Groundwater Cleanup funding to provide OCWD recommendations for grant eligibility and the drafting of state agency guidelines.

    OCWD is pursuing grant funding for four upcoming projects:

    1. Final expansion of the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) to provide an additional 20 million gallons per day (MGD) of new drinking water ($30 million of grant funding)
    2. Mid-Basin Injection Project to provide an additional 10 MGD of new drinking water ($10 million of grant funding)
    3. North Basin Groundwater Cleanup ($20 million of grant funding)
    4. South Basin Groundwater Cleanup ($10 million of grant funding).

Please mark your calendars— OCWD will host a workshop in its boardroom on Wednesday, September 30 at 9:00 a.m. for the public to provide input on the SWRCB's guidelines for the implementation of Proposition 1 stormwater funding.

OCWD is committed to transparency, environmental stewardship, sound planning, appropriate investment, a highly reliable water supply, and exceptional water quality. The public is invited to attend the Communication/Legislation meeting on the first Thursday of the month at 8 a.m.

If you have any legislative affairs questions, please contact Alicia Dunkin, OCWD Legislative Affairs Liaison, at (714) 378-8232 or adunkin@ocwd.com.