Highlights from February 2023
President's Message:
What’s Happening With All This Rain?
We’ve Got You Covered 
Since the start of winter and through February, 18.06 inches of rainfall has been measured at OCWD’s field headquarters in Anaheim. We’ve worked hard to capture as much water as possible as it eventually flows through the District’s advanced aquifer recharge system, consisting of more than two dozen recharge basins, and naturally percolates into the Orange County Groundwater Basin, increasing drinking water supplies for 2.5 million people in the region.

Capturing stormwater has been part of the District’s water supply portfolio for years. We’ve increased our stormwater capture efforts behind Prado Dam, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), which has proven to be an economical and effective solution to the region’s water challenges without compromising the safety of the dam.

We remain committed in continuing to work with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego in the development of predictive models for atmospheric rivers. This will lead to implementation of the USACE using this information to develop Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations (FIRO) to operate its reservoirs to allow for more stormwater capture, thereby improving water supply reliability for the region. We are also working with the USACE to update its water control manuals to increase water storage levels at Prado Dam by capturing stormwater up to 508 feet above mean sea level (amsl) whenever it rains. This could add an additional 7,000 acre-feet of water annually into the groundwater basin, creating a new supply for approximately 60,000 people per year.

Orange County water agencies are prepared to maximize water supply for the region, during wet or dry times. We are thankful for the rain we receive, and we will always look for opportunities to increase local supplies to serve generations to come.
Children’s Water Education Festival is Almost Here 
The Children's Water Education Festival is a couple of weeks away! On March 29-30, the largest event of its kind in the U.S. will take place at UCI.

Presenters Can Still Sign Up
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. Need a bigger space to accommodate a larger group of students? Larger booth sizes are also available!

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 15 years of age at the time or their volunteer shift.
PFAS Congressional Briefing
OCWD's Jason Dadakis, P.G., C.HG, Executive Director of Water Quality and Technical Resources, recently visited Washington D.C. for an important congressional PFAS briefing to examine the implications of PFAS policymaking.

As Congress considers how to legislate responses to PFAS contamination, this briefing provided presentations on PFAS impacts on the water sector and how to protect public health and passive receivers of PFAS. Technical and policy experts from the drinking water, wastewater, biosolids and academic communities presented the PFAS science, approaches to protect the public and how to ensure that passive receivers of PFAS in the water sector are protected against unintended clean-up liability.
Research & Development Grant
The U.S. Department of Energy and the National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI), in collaboration with the California Department of Water Resources, recently announced the selection of 11 projects that will pilot breakthrough technologies and systems that will allow for more reliable and affordable freshwater supplies in their communities.

OCWD is proud to receive grant funding for the project, "A Convergent Monitoring Platform for Dynamic Characterization of Reverse Osmosis Membrane Fouling and Demonstration of Innovative Control Strategies."

Membrane fouling and scaling is a pervasive and costly aspect of many membrane-based water treatment systems. This project will demonstrate and validate an unprecedented sensing/time series monitoring system at OCWD for the dynamic characterization of reverse osmosis (RO) biofouling, mineral scaling, and organic fouling. The data obtained from this system will be combined with pilot and full-scale RO performance data to train next-generation Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) models to better forecast and mitigate fouling and scaling. This project will also evaluate novel sensor technologies and a new commercial membrane technology that can resist the application of oxidizing cleaning chemicals.

Project partners: Rice University (lead); University of Texas, Austin; University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Orange County Water District; Noria Water Technologies, Inc., NALA Membranes, Inc.; Carollo Engineers
Community Engagement Spotlight
Thank you to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange for visiting OCWD and the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) to increase your understanding of this project and learn about our precious resource - water. Since 2021, the Sisters adopted a plan that recognizes water as an essential element to protect life and have actively studied water issues.

Over the years, this organization has toured the GWRS, attended OCWD water webinars, and invited District representatives to speak to their group. To top it off, they produced a video of a recent GWRS visit. Check it out!
Already the World's Largest, GWRS is Getting Even Bigger
Speaking of the GWRS, construction of the final expansion was complete this past December. In case you missed the earlier news, in December 2022, the GWRS began to take water from OC San's Plant No. 2, a milestone years in the making. By taking the reclaimable wastewater flows from this second facility, we are now recycling 100% of OC San's reclaimable flows, thereby maximizing water recycling in the region. With this latest expansion, the GWRS will produce up to 130 million gallons of drinking water a day (MGD), serving nearly one million people in north and central Orange County.

The GWRS also celebrated its 15th anniversary in January 2008. To honor the 15th anniversary and the final expansion, OCWD unveiled a commemorative edition of GWRS bottled water. This water is available for public consumption for individuals 18 and over under assembly bill 2022, which allows the limited bottling of advanced purified product water for educational purposes. OCWD and OC San were the first in the Western Hemisphere to bottle advanced purified water continuing its longstanding commitment of educating the public. Virtual, in-person and on-demand tours continue to be offered to the public and community groups.

Check out these videos highlighting the milestone of recycling 100% of OC San's reclaimable wastewater flows and a special anniversary video, featuring OCWD General Manager Mike Markus and former OC San General Manager Jim Herberg, who retired last month.
Employee News
At the February 15 Board Meeting, the Board of Directors voted unanimously to appoint Christina Fuller as the new Board Secretary effective April 1, 2023. Christina, currently serving as the Assistant District Secretary, will serve as the liaison between OCWD’s Board of Directors and staff, outside agencies and the public in her new role. Her appointment comes as current District Secretary Janice Durant, who has provided 33 years of exceptional service to OCWD, announced her retirement. We wish Janice a well-deserved retirement and congratulate Christina on her upcoming new role with the District.

OCWD is recruiting for an Assistant District Secretary in the Board Administration Department. The Assistant District Secretary performs a wide variety of responsible, confidential, and complex administrative, technical, programmatic, and secretarial duties in support of the District Secretary and OCWD Board of Directors. 
It is with deep sadness we share the passing of OCWD employee, Anthony “Tony” Carreira after a recent, valiant battle against cancer. Tony was always a pleasure to be around and a great employee for the District's Water Production Department. Tony had worked with the operations group since June 2010 starting out as a Plant Operator I, was promoted to a Senior Operator in 2012 and then to a Shift Supervisor in 2015. Most recently in November 2022, Tony had been promoted to his new role as Chief Plant Operator. We offer our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones and honor him for his years of service to OCWD. He will be greatly missed.
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 January 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 mitigating drought by increasing water supplies and securing long-term water reliability for the 2.5 million people it serves.

Children's Water Education Festival - Wednesday & Thursday, March 29-30 at UCI
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.