Highlights from September 2022
President's Message:
The Best Defense is a Good Offense -
Build More Water Projects
I spoke at the Chapman University Water Abundance Conference recently about the water challenges our state continues to face. Water abundance was an appropriate theme for this conference. We are experiencing year-three of the current drought cycle and water abundance is something we desperately need – and with the right mindset, state and federal funding and will power to build infrastructure, it’s achievable.
Our 14th annual OC Water Summit, also held last month, dove into similar discussions about water scarcity and the need to build and better manage statewide water supplies. Critical infrastructure projects that could enhance water supply and reliability for the state are still years from breaking ground. Now more than ever before, our state needs to look at solutions to build projects that will keep water flowing for generations to come.
As we look ahead in the coming months, I’m excited to see projects like the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) Final Expansion come online. By early 2023, we’ll have the capacity to produce 130 million gallons of drinking water every day, enough to serve 1 million people. More water supply projects are needed to efficiently serve our growing communities. I will continue to work alongside my colleagues at OCWD and push for policy and legislative change that will help us build more. As paraphrased from President George Washington, the best defense to the drought is a strong offense of creating more reliable water supply. 
14th Annual OC Water Summit
Thank you to all our attendees, speakers, and sponsors for making the 14th annual OC Water Summit a success.

Aptly themed, California Dreamin': Making Water Infrastructure a Reality, the event brought together more than 350 people to discuss critical water issues impacting our region - from the megadrought and infrastructure funding to re-examining the Delta.

We encourage continued dialogue on these issues. Please stay tuned for session videos which will be made available on the OC Water Summit website.

Pictured above from left to right is: Steve Sheldon, President, Orange County Water District; the Honorable Devon Mathis, Assemblyman, California State Assembly, who spoke on the panel "Proposition Proposal: Dam the Legislature, Grow Me the Money"; and Tri Ta, Second Vice President, Orange County Water District.
Recharged for the Fall
Orange County is blessed with a local groundwater basin that is managed and protected by OCWD. Over the decades, the District has invested in creating new local water supply projects as well as projects that remove and treat for pollutants that may have migrated into the groundwater basin. Part of the District's basin management also includes recharging the Orange County Groundwater Basin, which serves as the primary drinking water supply for 19 cities and retail water agencies, serving 2.5 million people in north and central Orange County.

OCWD’s recharge operations team has been hard at work this summer preparing for the potential of fall and winter storms. At least once a year, our operations staff clean the basins to prepare for rain and more storage opportunities. OCWD owns 1,600 acres of land in the forebay area (cities of Anaheim and Orange), of which 1,085 acres consist of more than two dozen recharge basins that percolate and store approximately 25,000 acre-feet, which is more than 8 billion gallons of water. 

It takes a lot of time, coordination, and heavy equipment to move large volumes of water around and to keep the basin clean and percolating, thus ensuring that our basins operate efficiently and that our groundwater basin continues to thrive. Thank you to our recharge team, consisting of 21 professionals in Anaheim and Prado whose responsibilities range from recharge operations, heavy equipment operations, landscaping, maintenance, mechanics and administration.
Groundwater Resources Association Names OCWD its Kevin J. Neese Award Winner
OCWD was named the 2022 winner of the Groundwater Resources Association's (GRA) Kevin J. Neese award. The award, given to the District for its robust PFAS treatment program, recognizes a significant accomplishment by a person, persons, or entity that fosters the understanding, development, protection, and management of groundwater.

OCWD was recognized for its comprehensive efforts to remove PFAS from local groundwater including launching the nation’s largest pilot treatment project in December 2019 to constructing PFAS treatment facilities to restore the impacted drinking water supply.

OCWD previously won the GRA Kevin J. Neese award in 2008 for its world-renowned Groundwater Replenishment System. The award was presented to OCWD at the GRA’s Western Groundwater Congress during the Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon on September 20 in Sacramento. A video shown during the luncheon can be viewed here.

Pictured above from left to right is the following OCWD staff: Adam Hutchinson, PG, CHG, Recharge Planning Manager; Meeta Pannu, Ph.D., Senior Scientist; and Christine Pham, Scientist.
Producer Spotlight
The Yorba Linda Water District selected Major General R. Mark Toy, P.E., USACE, Ret., as its new General Manager. Mr. Toy, who began his new role at the end of August 2022, has managed some of the nation’s largest water resource infrastructure projects and has served as the Commander and Division Engineer of the South Pacific Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers encompassing ten states throughout the southwest.
Take a look at this video as Yorba Linda Water District explains how they work with OCWD to deliver safe and clean water to their communities. This video is one of several produced by OCWD to highlight the exceptional water quality of its member agencies. Every year, water providers produce a water quality report called a Consumer Confidence Report, or CCR. Please contact your water provider to view a copy of this report.
Serrano Water District's C.L. "Larry" Pharris Jr. Filtration Plant Dedication Ceremony

The Serrano Water District and OCWD held a dedication ceremony to celebrate Serrano Water District's C.L. "Larry" Pharris Jr. Filtration Plant, which initially came online in February 2022 and can treat up to 4.6 million gallons of water per day. During treatment, contaminants such as PFAS are removed from the water before it goes into the distribution system. Having this facility online maximizes use of groundwater, which is less expensive and more reliable than imported water.

Many elected officials who supported this effort were in attendance including water board members from Serrano and OCWD and U.S. Representative Young Kim (CA-39). Congratulations to Serrano Water District! Check out this video to learn more.
Sharing Our Commitment to Innovation
As part of its robust PFAS program, OCWD and its local suppliers continue to build new PFAS treatment facilities with the goal of getting all impacted wells back online by 2024. OCWD also regularly informs its community stakeholders of the proactive measures taken to address PFAS in the Orange County Groundwater Basin. In case you missed it, we've published our quarterly PFAS update - complete with the latest updates and a new look!
From engineers, scientists to public affairs professionals, several OCWD staff members attended and spoke at the 2022 WateReuse California Annual Conference regarding the District's vast leadership in all facets of water reuse. Presentation topics ranged from an update on the GWRS Final Expansion, a current research project involving forward flow reverse osmosis, and public outreach and education pertaining to water reuse.
We're proud to support UC Berkeley and its project partners on an EPA-funded study on Enhanced Aquifer Recharge. The study's goal is to develop methods, tools, and frameworks to enable potential proponents of groundwater recharge projects to more effectively and efficiently move towards implementation. OCWD was chosen to lend support due to its extensive experience and successes in groundwater management and recharge.
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 August 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 how the GWRS Final Expansion project, complete in early 2023, 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 for the 2.5 million people it serves.

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

Virtual Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) Tour - Friday, October 7, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.

Webinar: Water Recharge Operations - Thursday, October 13 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.