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 – An Inch of Rainwater: What's In It for Us?

Director Cathy Green's Photo
The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) thinks that a rainy day is wonderful. Unlike most of us who "save for a rainy day," OCWD saves, instead, for the dry days. OCWD is the agency tasked with the capture and placement (recharge) of water from a variety of sources into the Orange County Groundwater Basin, which provides drinking water to 2.4 million people in central and north Orange County.

Rain is the most important source. When it rains, water finds its way underground by a variety of paths such as:

  1. Direct percolation through permeable surfaces such as the lawn in your backyard or unlined creek bottoms. This percolation is characterized as incidental recharge.
  2. Stormwater captured behind Prado Dam and subsequently diverted into OCWD's network of manmade recharge facilities. This rainwater runoff is characterized as stormflow.

Rainfall-derived recharge to the basin comes in two types – incidental recharge and stormwater recharge. Read More...

Save the Date for the OC Water Summit

The 9th annual OC Water Summit will take place on Friday, May 20, 2016 at the Westin Hotel in Costa Mesa. The program will feature prominent national and state policy makers, elected officials, scientists, financial experts and business leaders. Each year, hundreds of stakeholders attend the event, which is hosted by the Orange County Water District and the Municipal Water District of Orange County. Look for information in future Hydrospectives issues.

Sponsors, Presenters & Volunteers Needed for CWEF 20th Anniversary

Be a part of the excitement that is the Children's Water Education Festival! Presented by the Orange County Water District (OCWD), Disneyland Resort, the National Water Research Institute and OCWD's Groundwater Guardian Team, the Festival will be held at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) on March 23-24.

Approximately 7,000 third, fourth and fifth grade Orange County students are already registered to attend this free field trip to learn about water and the environment. More than 800 are on a wait list. With your help, we might be able to accommodate even more!

Since its inception, the Festival has taught more than 120,000 Orange County students about water and how to protect natural resources. To sponsor, volunteer or present an activity, contact Crystal Nettles at (714) 378-3202 or cnettles@ocwd.com. To register, go to www.ocwd.com or direct to www.childrenwaterfestival.com.

OCWD believes in and takes action to inspire and engage middle school, high school and college students towards careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM.) The celebrated Children's Water Education Festival, together with OCWD's Water Hero program and tours, fosters that discovery in our youth and young adults.

State Recommends Credit for Water Projects that Create New Water

The State of California has recommended a Drought Resilient Sources of Supply Credit for potable reuse, sustainable water supplies and desalination supplies when state conservation mandates are in place. This equates to an 8 percent credit from a retail water agency's reduction target, effectively adjusting its conservation saving. Those agencies and the people and businesses they serve within the Orange County Water District's service area are eligible for that credit due to the recent investment in the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) Initial Expansion, which brought GWRS production up to 100 million gallons per day.

While other agencies were facing severe local water shortages, the GWRS allowed OCWD to increase pumping levels of the Orange County Groundwater Basin during California's historic four-year drought. At one-third the cost of imported water supplies from Northern California and the Colorado River, pumping more local groundwater resulted in significant savings for the 19 cities and water districts OCWD serves.

The District is currently exploring purchasing up to 56,000 acre-feet per year (AFY) of desalinated seawater from the proposed Huntington Beach Desalination Project and expanding its GWRS to provide an additional 31,000 AFY as a way to increase local water supplies. These new sources of sustainable water supply would reduce the region's dependence on imported water sources from Northern California and the Colorado River that are vulnerable to drought, natural disasters and regulatory restrictions.

OCWD Board Elects Officers

Elections for OCWD Board Officers took place at the December 16 OCWD board meeting. President Cathy Green, First Vice President Denis Bilodeau and Second Vice President Philip Anthony all retain their 2015 titles.

OCWD's Board of Directors and staff are committed to serving the people of Orange County. As a public agency, OCWD takes on the water challenges of today and prepares to meet the region's water demands for generations to come. Solid science and state-of-the-art technologies guide its decisions.

The 10-member board of directors governs the District and implements policies that foster sound management of the basin, as well as support the advancement of OCWD's mission to provide an adequate, reliable, high-quality water supply at the lowest reasonable cost in an environmentally responsible manner. Seven board members are elected and three are appointed by Anaheim, Fullerton and Santa Ana city councils. Explore the OCWD website and get to know the OCWD directors at Service area & board of directors.

Prop. 1 Funds the La Palma Recharge Basin Project

OCWD was recently notified that it has been awarded a $2,860,540 Proposition 1 Water Recycling Grant for its La Palma Recharge Basin Project.

The La Palma Recharge Basin Project, located east of the Carbon Canyon Diversion Channel between La Palma and Miraloma Avenues in the city of Anaheim, will join the more than 20 facilities in northern Orange County that are managed by the Orange County Water District to place water into the Orange County Groundwater Basin. Read More...

CEC Approves Funding of GWRS Project

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has approved more than $5 million in loans and grants for a variety of energy saving projects. This included funding for a $1.2 million study to improve the energy efficiency of low pressure membrane treatment (e.g., microfiltration) of wastewater through monitoring and removal of colloidal particles that cause fouling and loss of performance. OCWD Research and Development (R&D) staff, along with the West Basin Municipal Water District and Kennedy/Jenks consultants, will conduct the study, which will include evaluation of various real-time sensors and dynamic chemical addition strategies with a Microfiltration-Reverse Osmosis pilot system hosted by OCWD.

OCWD's R&D staff has been at the forefront of emerging water technologies and has been instrumental in improving the efficiency of reverse osmosis membranes. Since the 1970s, the R&D department has been a source of pride for the District, advancing the District's tradition of research and innovation.

Director of National Science Foundation Presents Seminar at OCWD

Dr. Rita Colwell, who previously served as the 11th Director of the National Science Foundation, visited OCWD recently to tour the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) and to present a seminar on the use of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) for water quality analysis. NGS can be used to profile the microbial community within a water sample via DNA extraction and analysis.

Her presentation "Next Generation Sequencing and Bioinformatics for Water Quality Management and Community Health" was followed by a discussion on the use of advanced algorithms to identify pathogens as related to water quality assessments for the GWRS and the Santa Ana River. Read More...

Ocean Desalination Feb. 3 Public Workshop

As part of Orange County Water District's (OCWD) commitment to providing a reliable and sustainable water supply to Orange County, it is exploring ocean desalination as a way to increase local water supplies. Specifically, it is evaluating the feasibility of purchasing and distributing water from the proposed Poseidon Water Huntington Beach Ocean Desalination Project. This new source of clean water would reduce the region's dependence on imported water sources from Northern California and the Colorado River that are vulnerable to drought, natural disasters, environmental concerns, and regulatory restrictions.

Based upon a Term Sheet OCWD and Poseidon agreed to in May 2015, Poseidon would construct the necessary treatment plant and OCWD would construct the necessary pipelines to distribute the desalinated water throughout the Orange County region. OCWD staff has researched and developed different options for distributing the ocean desalinated water. The OCWD Board of Directors will be conducting a public workshop on Wednesday, February 3, at 5:30 p.m. to review these options. The meeting will take place in the OCWD board room, located at 18700 Ward Street in Fountain Valley.

Additional information about OCWD's exploration of ocean desalination, including past board actions, is available at OCWD explores ocean desalination.

To submit questions or comments, please call OCWD's Ocean Desal Exploration Hotline at (714) 378-8243 or send an email to oceandesalexploration@ocwd.com.

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. We participated in the following during December:
  • OCWD General Manager Mike Markus attended the State Water Resources Control Board workshop on emergency drought regulations and was on a panel that proposed changing the regulations to give sustainable water supplies a credit to the amount of water they need to conserve. His testimony centered on a specific credit for those agencies that are using potable reused water as a part of their supply.
  • Chief Hydrogeologist Roy Herndon participated in an advisory panel discussion with the State Department of Water Resources (DWR) regarding development of draft regulations to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 (SGMA). DWR staff is in the process of drafting regulations that will specify the requirements for water agencies to develop Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSP) for their basins. Implementation of these GSPs constitutes the key component of the SGMA.

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.

Employee of the Quarter—Crystal Nettles

Communications Specialist Crystal Nettles has been an OCWD employee for about 1.5 years and has come up to speed on the District's projects, events and programs extremely quickly. She planned and implemented a successful 2015 Children's Water Education Festival and upon opening registration for the 2016 Festival, she filled the school registration in record time. In about one week, the event reached capacity with 800 students currently on a wait list. This affirms the great job Crystal has done in increasing the recognition and caliber of this signature event.

Crystal has exceptional time management skills, and in addition to managing the Festival, Crystal was critical to the successful launch of OCWD's new website. She learned to use the content management system and was the lead staff to post approved content, videos and photos. Without her efforts, the timing of the launch could have been delayed. Crystal carries a heavy workload and is always able to prioritize projects appropriately. She is an essential member of the public affairs team and can always be counted on to help out with other department projects.


New Hires

Jeffrey Burcar
Water Production
Senior Instrumentation & Electrical Technician

Ahmad Ziadeh
Water Production
Senior Instrumentation & Electrical Technician

Jasmin Jamal
Research & Development
Field Intern

December Tours

Representatives of the National Health Foundation, Brazil toast with GWRS water.
Thank you to the nearly 200 guests that toured OCWD's facilities in December:

Staff from the Orange County Environmental Health Care Agency; students from West Coast University and California State University, Long Beach nursing programs; students from Dana Hills High School and California State University, Fullerton; representatives from the Los Angeles County Sanitation District and Taiwanese Water Corporation; members of a Chinese delegation; representatives of the National Health Foundation, Brazil, and representatives from the City of Huntington Beach; the Santa Clara Valley Water District outreach team; representatives from Brenntag, Cosmos ID, and from the Moulton Niguel Water District; and members of the public tour.

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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