Highlights from December 2022
President's Message:
Maximizing Water Recycling Efforts
Happy new year! I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday season with their loved ones. I’m honored I was elected by my colleagues to serve as the OCWD Board President, and I want to thank Past President Steve Sheldon for his leadership over the last two years.

Last month, construction was completed for the Final Expansion of the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS), and we have now entered the start-up and commissioning phase of the project. When fully operational in early 2023, the GWRS will produce up to 130 million gallons of water a day, enough to serve nearly one million people daily. The facility will be able to take 100% of reclaimable wastewater flows from the Orange County Sanitation District (OC San) and recycle it into high-quality water that meets all state and federal drinking water standards, thereby maximizing water recycling efforts for the region.

Since 2008, the GWRS has purified sewer water that would otherwise be discharged into the ocean and has produced nearly 400 billion gallons of water. It accounts for about 35% of the District’s diversified water portfolio and gets pumped to OCWD’s recharge basins where it becomes part of our drinking water supply. It is also sent to injection wells along the coast to protect our basin from seawater intrusion.

I’m excited to see the Final Expansion fully online in a few months. Whether it’s expanding water recycling, enhancing storage, or increasing stormwater capture, we remain committed to ensuring water supply reliability for our communities and look forward to another successful year ahead.
2023-2024 Board Officers & New Board Members
At the December 21 Board of Directors meeting, the Board elected new officers to serve a two-year term: Cathy Green, President; Denis Bilodeau, First Vice President; Van Tran, Second Vice President. OCWD also welcomed three new board members to its 10-member board:
Division 4 Appointment
Attorney Van Tran was appointed to the OCWD Board of Directors on December 7 to represent Division 4, which includes the cities of Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, and parts of Cypress, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Westminster, and Buena Park. Director Tran is an attorney and former elected official, having served as a member of the California State Assembly, representing District 68. Tran was the first Vietnamese American in the nation to serve in any state legislature. During his three terms of service between 2004 and 2010, he served as Assistant Minority Leader as well as on several important policy committees including Vice-Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Environmental and Toxic Materials. 
Division 8 Appointment
Director Valerie Amezcua, appointed to the Board by the Santa Ana City Council to represent Division 8, is a longstanding public servant and recently became the first female mayor of Santa Ana. She also serves as a board member of the Santa Ana Unified School District. Past community involvement includes numerous boards and commissions, including the OC Human Relations Commission, the National Hispanic Business Women’s Association and Santa Ana’s Early Prevention and Intervention Commission. Previously, Director Amezcua worked as a supervising probation officer with the Orange County Probation Department.
Division 9 Appointment
Director Natalie Meeks was appointed to the Board by the Anaheim City Council to represent Division 9. Director Meeks is a veteran public works professional who brings decades of engineering and leadership experience to her role at OCWD. She served as the city of Anaheim’s public works director from 2007-2016 where she worked on major projects for the Anaheim Resort, Anaheim Convention Center and ARTIC transit hub. Director Meeks served on Anaheim’s planning commission from 2019-2022 and currently serves on the Anaheim City Council representing east Anaheim.
2022 Highlights - What a Year It's Been!
Before we turn the page to a new year, please join us in reflecting on this year's accomplishments, which would not be possible without the leadership of our board, the work of our dedicated staff, and the support from our Producers, the water industry and all our stakeholders.

We've remained steadfast in our mission of managing and protecting the Orange County Groundwater Basin, ensured exceptional water quality, expanded water reuse, increased local water supplies, maintained environmental stewardship, continued sound financial management, innovated through new research and science, and engaged with our communities. Take a look at our 2022 highlights video!
Federal Funding to Advance Water Innovation
OCWD was awarded funding from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for two research projects to test innovative water treatment technologies. As a leader in water reuse, groundwater management and water quality, OCWD is committed to support research in these areas to enhance its operations and enable further advancements throughout the entire water industry. The two research projects support District priorities including removing PFAS from groundwater supplies and enhancing operations of its Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS).
“In-Situ Gravity Driven Removal of PFAS During Groundwater Recharge to Protect Drinking Water,” will evaluate the performance of an engineered adsorbent media when installed into the ground for the passive removal of PFAS in impacted surface waters that are used to recharge groundwater supplies.
“Improving RO Recovery through Optimization of Flux and Pump Usage with Real-Time Sensor Connectivity, Data-driven Modeling, and Automation,” aims to develop predictive algorithms with automated process controls that can optimize reverse osmosis (RO) operational settings to reduce energy, maximize production, and minimize chemical costs while reducing membrane fouling and scaling.
Children's Water Education Festival
The Children's Water Education Festival is a couple months away! March 29-30, the largest event of its kind in the U.S. will take place at UCI. The mission of the Festival is to educate students about water-related and environmental issues that correspond with Next Generation Science Standards.

Calling All Presenters
The Festival presents a unique opportunity to educate third, fourth and fifth grade students through hands-on presentations and activities. Activity lessons will focus on educating students about water, the environment and what they can do to conserve and protect our precious natural resources. Classes are scheduled into 20-minute sessions throughout the day. Group sizes for standard booths are 45 students.

Sponsorship Opportunities Available
Hosting an event of this magnitude is made possible by many generous sponsors. Multiple sponsorship levels are available to meet your organization's needs. Donations are tax-deductible and may be made online or by mail.

Volunteers Needed
The Festival would not be possible without volunteer participation. Hundreds of volunteers are needed to support this exciting event on March 29-30, including set-up on March 28. All shifts will be scheduled based upon a volunteer's availability and the needs of the Festival. Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age at the time or their volunteer shift.
In Case You Missed It
We've published our quarterly PFAS update to inform our community stakeholders of the proactive measures taken to address PFAS in the Orange County Groundwater Basin. For more information, we encourage you to visit the PFAS education center.
A social media campaign is underway highlighting the 15th anniversary of the GWRS. We encourage you to visit the District’s social media platforms to see various posts, employee and board testimonials, and videos reflecting on the past 15 years. 
Missed Our December Webinar?

From carefully managing the Orange County Groundwater Basin to increasing local water supplies, OCWD remains leaders in water supply reliability. This is made possible through investments in water infrastructure that lessen the dependence on imported supplies, providing not only a regional, but statewide benefit, while supporting local retail agencies’ efforts to provide cost-effective water services to their customers. Agencies like Mesa Water District (Mesa Water), who rely on the groundwater basin, have further invested in projects to meet water demands entirely from local groundwater supplies and can therefore provide their customers with 100% local water. 
Check out the webinar recording and learn how this is made possible as we dive into local projects that ensure water remains reliable today, tomorrow, and for the future.

Speakers include: Stephen R. Sheldon, Past President, OCWD; John Kennedy, P.E., Executive Director of Engineering and Local Resources, OCWD; Marice H. DePasquale, President, Mesa Water; Paul E. Shoenberger, P.E. General Manager, Mesa Water
Sustainably Managing the OC Groundwater Basin
OCWD is one of the few groundwater management agencies able to track the groundwater basin’s “water budget” on a monthly basis. This information allows the District to make more informed management decisions about future water supplies and pumping. View the infographic below to see the groundwater basin’s storage, recharge, and pumping levels, through the end of November 2022.
Thirsty for More Information?
Explore the PFAS Education Center and take action to help us uphold the polluter pays principle and protect ratepayers.
Learn about the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS), the world's largest water purification system for indirect potable reuse.
See how OCWD is mitigating drought by increasing water supplies and securing long-term water reliability for the 2.5 million people it serves.

Water Advisory Committee of Orange County (WACO) Meeting - Friday, January 6, 2023 at 7:30 a.m.

Virtual Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) Tour - Friday, January 6, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.
The Orange County Water District is committed to enhancing Orange County’s groundwater quality and reliability in an environmentally friendly and economical manner. The following cities rely on the groundwater basin, managed by OCWD, to provide 77% of their water demands: Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.
President Cathy Green
First Vice President Denis R. Bilodeau, P.E.
Second Vice President Van Tran, Esq.
Valerie Amezcua
Natalie Meeks
Dina L. Nguyen, Esq.
Kelly E. Rowe, CFM, P.G., C.E.G., C.H.
Stephen R. Sheldon
Bruce Whitaker
Roger C. Yoh, P.E.