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—
Preparing for 2016
Director Cathy Green's Photo
The year 2015 has been one of the most challenging on record for California's water purveyors. The state entered its fourth consecutive year of mega drought, prompting the California State Water Resources Control Board to issue water conservation mandates—the first time ever.

Each city and water district has its own conservation goal (as compared to 2013) because some had been conserving while others hadn't.

Residents and businesses in the Orange County Water District's service area rose to the occasion and surpassed the state target of 23.6 percent for our area with an actual regional reduced consumption of 26.6 percent. However, some individual cities are just shy of reaching their goals.

Groundwater reliability during this historic drought was due in part to the manner in which OCWD has been managing this local resource for more than 80 years. Most importantly in 2015, the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) Initial Expansion came online to provide an additional 30 million gallons of water per day (MGD) to the basin. This is enough water for 250,000 people.

The $142 million initial expansion not only increases output to 100 MGD, it also decreases dependence on costly imported water, uses less energy required to transport imported water, provides reliability in an area plagued by cyclical droughts, and protects the environment by decreasing the amount of wastewater in our ocean and reusing a precious resource.

In 2015, the District also launched a new website (www.ocwd.com). Transparency and accountability are imperative to achieving its mission to provide a reliable, high-quality water supply in a cost-effective and environmentally responsible manner. The new website includes extensive documents and information that address OCWD's motivations for its management practices and decisions.

The coming year will start with hope and promise. We all look forward, with trepidation, to El Niño and the rain it could bring. If it does rain heavily, it will have significant impact on Orange County as the District can capture much of the rainwater in its groundwater basin. OCWD has also partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to capture additional stormwater behind Prado Dam. The District will also complete two new recharge basins to help further replenish the basin.

In 2016, OCWD will also unveil new educational programs for Orange County adults and children and offer a well-established program once more. The Children's Water Education Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary. The Festival instructs more than 7,000 Orange County elementary school students each year about water and the environment. The O.C. Water Hero Program, which OCWD debuted in 2007, helps children champion water conservation and is undergoing an extensive addition to including a smartphone application.

Every year, OCWD hosts more than 4,000 guests for tours of its facilities. This coming year, guests will receive a heightened experience as the OCWD corridor has been transformed into an educational center that will be incorporated in each tour. Those of you who have taken a tour in the past, might want to sign-up up again as the new corridor features videos and hands-on experiences. Contact Coordinator Becky Mudd (bmudd@ocwd.com) to make your reservation.

Just as OCWD took on the challenges of 2015, we are prepared to meet the region's water demands for 2016 and well beyond, for generations to come.