Highlights from August 2022
President's Message:
Planning for Orange County's Water Supply
As we close out the summer, we are faced with continued challenges to our statewide water conditions. At OCWD, we remain committed to doing everything we can locally and regionally to increase and protect our water supplies. Our accomplishments – including the nearly completed Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) Final Expansion to increased stormwater capture at Prado Dam – couldn’t happen without the expertise and smart planning by our talented employees. From engineering, operations, water quality, and hydrogeology to accounting and human resources, our staff are the backbone of the District. Each of our 230 staff members play a part in fulfilling our mission to provide a reliable water supply for 2.5 million people.

The District also offers a competitive internship program to nearly 30 students that offers valuable educational experiences and cultivates interest in pursuing career opportunities in water. Many of our interns have come full circle to work here at the District and have obtained careers at other public agencies.

Recently, I was reminded that Reanna Ennis completed a summer internship with our hydrogeology department a few years ago. After graduating from the University of California at Santa Barbara she’s since worked at the State Water Resources Control Board and is now an Engineering Geologist with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) in its Sustainable Groundwater Management Office helping to review DWR’s Groundwater Sustainability Plans. Reanna just earned her master's degree in civil engineering from Cal State Sacramento and she plans to seek licensure as a Professional Engineer (PE). Soon enough she will be a Water Resources Engineer with DWR. 

I applaud Reanna and all our amazing interns and staff who provide great value not just to OCWD, but to the broader industry.  
It's Not Too Late to Register for the 14th Annual OC Water Summit
Join more than 300 business professionals, elected officials, academics, and water leaders on September 16, 2022, as the OC Water Summit California Dreamin' explores Making Water Infrastructure a Reality. Now, more than ever before, water managers, policymakers, agriculture, and business need to work together to build projects that will keep the water flowing for generations to come.

Featured speakers include Karla Nemeth, Director, California Department of Water Resources; Brenda Burman, Central Arizona Project, Former Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; Edward Ring, Senior Fellow, California Policy Center; The Honorable Devon Mathis, Assemblyman, California State Assembly; Michael George, Delta Watermaster - and many more.

Featured Topics
  • Megadrought: Is There Any Doubt?
  • Proposition Proposal: Dam the Legislature, Grow Me the Money
  • Mission Impossible: Water Projects We Need Now
  • To Pump or Not to Pump: Re-examining Conventional Wisdom About the Delta

Tickets & Registration
An individual ticket is $140 and includes continental breakfast, buffet lunch, self-parking, and summit materials. The price increases to $160 on September 2, 2022. Link to register for the 14th Annual OC Water Summit.

Interested in Sponsoring?
By sponsoring the OC Water Summit, you are investing in water reliability for Southern California. A variety of sponsorship opportunities are available to meet your organization's strategic goals. Please complete your sponsorship commitment form no later than Friday, September 12, 2022, to guarantee inclusion in all the sponsorship benefits. Link to OC Water Summit sponsorship information.

More details are available on the OC Water Summit website.
Research & Development: An Innovation Hub
OCWD scientists continue to be on the cutting edge of research for the water industry and the District is regularly sought to lead and contribute to local, national, and international water research projects. OCWD’s Research & Development Department coordinates and conducts applied physical, chemical and biological research that supports and enhances the District’s mission to safeguard Orange County's water supply.
The District is currently working on several major projects, listed below, that are funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI). As a key utility partner in the NAWI projects, OCWD will act as a real-world testbed to facilitate research aimed at developing energy-efficient water treatment technologies. These types of projects require broad collaboration and we’re privileged to partner with many research institutions, universities, and organizations throughout the country to advance research efforts. 

The R&D Department is also leading and participating in a number of other ongoing research projects and regularly participates in scientific panels and advisory committees to help guide external research efforts related to OCWD’s objectives. For all of the NAWI projects listed below, in addition to providing varying degrees of technical support, District staff scientists will provide utility perspective and project review and feedback to help validate the research and advance industry innovation in a way that is actionable for agencies.
“Electrocoagulation/Electrooxidation (EC/EO) to Accelerate Cost-Effective Potable Water Reuse” will test an alternative to conventional disinfection of wastewater that is more cost-effective, resilient, and safer than traditional treatment.

Project lead: Texas A&M University
 Awarded $1.04 million
"Data-Driven Fault Detection and Process Control for Potable Reuse with Reverse Osmosis” seeks to improve RO-based potable reuse operations with predictive algorithms using data from online sensors and maintain equal or improved water treatment performance through more adaptive, flexible process control.

Project lead: Carollo
Awarded more than $1 million
“Selective Electrocatalytic Destruction of PFAS using a Reactive Electrochemical Membrane System” will investigate the selective removal and reductive electrocatalytic destruction of PFAS as pretreatment to the desalination process and as a desalination concentrate management strategy.

Project lead: University of Illinois Chicago
Awarded more than $1.9 million
“Process Twins for Decision-Support and Dynamic Energy Cost Prediction in Water Reuse Processes,” seeks to address data sparsity among reuse facilities by developing a digital model, also known as a digital twin, as well as a small-scale physical twin to simulate scenarios and generate valuable data sets to enhance processes and modeling. A digital twin and physical twin will be created for the District’s RO process.

Project lead: University of California, Irvine
Awarded $1 million
“Development of an Omics Platform and a Testbed for Dynamic Characterization of Biofouling” will characterize biofilm maturation dynamics by building a comprehensive omics platform to fundamentally understand biofilm formation and mitigate biofouling in RO systems. A membrane fouling simulator (MFS) will be installed on one of the District’s full-scale RO units to collect data without disrupting RO plant operation. 

Project lead: University of Texas at Austin
Awarded $600,000
GWRS Creates 60% of All of CA's Recycled Water for Potable Reuse
The 2021 volumetric annual reporting (VAR) for recycled water and wastewater was published in early August, showing a slight increase in recycled water use statewide from 2020 to 2021, of which most of this increase was in potable reuse. The wastewater discharged to oceans and bays also saw a significant reduction. Since reporting started in 2019, these wastewater discharges have decreased by approximately 20%.  

The Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) is a prime example of recycled water use in the state. Based on the 2021 VAR, here are a couple highlights:

  • GWRS creates approximately 1/7th of all recycled water in the state.
  • GWRS accounts for about 60% of all recycled water statewide for potable reuse.
  • The Santa Ana region produces the most recycled water of all the regional board areas in the state.

We are proud of the benefits that GWRS offers not just statewide but locally and regionally as it gets recharged into the Orange County Groundwater Basin, provides a local water supply source and acts as a basin barrier to prevent seawater contamination. It is also a global model for other potable reuse projects. Online since 2008, the facility has produced more than 374 billion gallons of recycled water, which equates to over 1.1 million acre-feet of water.
Check Out These Videos!
Missed our August webinar? A recording is available to learn about the Santa Ana River Conservation and Conjunctive Use Program (SARCCUP), a historic storage agreement to better prepare the region for future droughts, enhance our watershed, and improve water supply reliability in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties—an area serving millions of customers.
Check out this video featuring the city of Seal Beach as they take you behind the scenes and explain how they work with OCWD to deliver safe and clean water to their communities. Every year, water providers produce a water quality report, also called a Consumer Confidence Report, or CCR. Please contact your water provider to view a copy of this report.
OC San’s Wastewater 101 Citizens Academy
Our sister agency, the OC Sanitation District (OC San) presents its Wastewater 101 Citizens Academy. As the regional wastewater treatment agency which safely collects, treats and disposes the wastewater generated by 2.6 million people living in central and northwest Orange County, OC San is a valuable partner in the GWRS. OCWD takes highly treated wastewater from OC San and recycles 100 million gallons into high-quality, purified drinking water. Learn more about the important source and pre-treatment process and sign up for their academy, which consists of four virtual workshops. And best of all, it's free!
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 July 2022.
Thirsty for More Information?
Explore the PFAS Education Center to stay apprised of the latest PFAS issues impacting our communities.
Learn how the GWRS Final Expansion project will increase production capacity to 130 million gallons per day.
See how OCWD is mitigating drought by increasing water supplies and securing long-term water reliability.

Water Advisory Committee of Orange County (WACO) Meeting - Friday, September 9, 2022 at 7:30 a.m.

14th Annual OC Water Summit - Friday, September 16, 2022 at the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa in Anaheim

Virtual Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) Tour - Friday, October 7, 2022 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 Stephen R. Sheldon
First Vice President Cathy Green
Second Vice President Tri Ta
Denis R. Bilodeau, P.E.
Gloria Ma’ae
Nelida Mendoza
Dina L. Nguyen, Esq.
Kelly E. Rowe, CFM, P.G., C.E.G., C.H.
Bruce Whitaker
Roger C. Yoh, P.E.