Highlights from May 2023
President's Message:
Managing Orange County’s Water Supply
May celebrated a lot of great holidays in our industry – Water Awareness Month, Special Districts Week, Drinking Water Week, and Public Service Recognition Week – all which reflect the values and mission at the Orange County Water District (OCWD). As a special district formed in 1933, OCWD takes great pride in managing the Orange County Groundwater Basin and protecting the drinking water supply that serves 2.5 million people in north and central Orange County. 

The more than 300-square-miles groundwater basin is continually monitored to ensure sustainable levels at all times and replenished as water is pumped out and used on a daily basis. OCWD operates an advanced system of more than two dozen recharge basins, inflatable rubber dams, levees, pumps, pipelines, and injection wells that move and store water, and serve as a barrier to protect the basin from seawater intrusion. 

This would not be possible without the hard work of our staff, leadership of past and present board members, investments in infrastructure, and new water supply projects. Due to sound planning and investments over the years, OCWD has been able to increase water supply in Orange County, resulting in a groundwater basin that continues to serve as a reliable, affordable water source for 19 cities and retail water districts. 
GWRS Wins Big with Water and Engineering Awards
The Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) completed its final expansion, which recycles 100% of local reclaimable wastewater flows and produces 130 million gallons of water a day - enough to serve nearly one million people. A joint project with the Orange County Sanitation District (OC San), the GWRS is a premier example of vision, innovation, and collaboration, and has further cemented OCWD's pioneering role in water reuse.

The project was recognized recently for its innovation, engineering feat, and securing water supply reliability.

We're proud of the recognition GWRS continues to receive and enjoy sharing our story with others. If you'd like more information about the GWRS or would like to schedule a tour, please contact us!
Check Out These Videos
President Cathy Green and General Manager Mike Markus talk with OC World as they're taken on a tour of the GWRS, the world's largest water recycling facility found right here in Orange County.
Want to relive the moment we celebrated the completion of the world-renowned GWRS? Take a look at this recap video. Thank you to all who attended and who made this award-winning project possible.
In case you missed it, a recording of our latest webinar, "PFAS: Managing Increased Samples and New Regulatory Requirements" is available to view on the OCWD website and YouTube channel.
Executive Director of Operations Mehul Patel connects with students across the country to show them the water recycling process at GWRS. Thank you for the opportunity, PBS and NOVA, to engage with these students!
OCWD Continues PFAS Treatment Program Swiftly, Efficiently
PFAS have been detected in the Orange County Groundwater Basin, managed by OCWD, which provides 85% of the water supply to 2.5 million people. While not responsible for releasing PFAS into the environment, OCWD is proactively and swiftly addressing PFAS through sound science and research, rigorous monitoring and testing, and building treatment systems that remove PFAS from the water before it goes into the distribution system.

Due to exceedances of the state’s advisory Response Levels, several dozen wells have been temporarily taken out of service in the OCWD service area for 11 currently impacted cities and water districts. OCWD has responded swiftly by building treatment facilities and has brought back online more than 20 wells. By 2024, all 58 wells currently impacted will be restored. Additional wells may be impacted by future state or federal PFAS regulations and OCWD will continue to work closely with local agencies to identify future treatment needs.  

OCWD is hard at work tackling PFAS. Here are some ways you can get involved:

OCWD Supports Cathy Green for ACWA President
OCWD President Cathy Green is running for President of Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), the largest state association of public water agencies in the nation. 

Water districts throughout the state have shown their support to elect Cathy Green as the next ACWA President. Agencies who are interested in passing a resolution of support, a template is available. The deadline for agencies to designate a voting representative to cast a ballot for ACWA President and Vice President is June 16. Voting will be done from July 17 - September 15 electronically (and not at the ACWA Fall Conference where it traditionally has taken place). For more information, please visit the ACWA website.

Cathy currently serves as the ACWA Vice President and has served as an active member of ACWA since 2012, including serving on ACWA’s executive committee since 2020, the ACWA Board since 2016, and the Region 10 Board from 2012-2021. She was the chair of ACWA Region 10 from 2018-2019 and served as vice chair from 2016-2017 and 2020-2021. Cathy has also served on several ACWA committees including the water quality committee since 2012, the energy committee since 2019, and the state legislative committee from 2012-2015.

Learn more about Cathy’s experience and qualifications and consider supporting her by visiting the Cathy Green for ACWA President webpage.
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 April 2023.
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 increasing water supplies and securing long-term water reliability for the 2.5 million people it serves.

Anaheim Public Utilities' OC Green Expo - Saturday, June 10 from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. (stop by the OCWD booth!)
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 85% 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.