Highlights from October 2023

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President's Message:

Thankful for Local Water Resources

‘Tis the season of giving thanks, and in our industry, we are thankful for a safe, reliable water supply. In north and central Orange County, we are blessed to have a local water resource like the Orange County Groundwater Basin, which provides 85% of the drinking water supply for 2.5 million people in the region.

OCWD upholds its commitment to sustainably manage the basin by finding new and innovative ways to replenish the basin, maintain its high quality, and protect Orange County’s rights to Santa Ana River water.  

From completing the GWRS that allows us to recycle 100% of OC San’s reclaimable wastewater flows into 130 million gallons of high-quality drinking water every day, to increasing stormwater capture behind Prado Dam, we’ve accomplished a lot this year. Protecting our water supplies is our upmost priority and we continue to implement rigorous water quality testing programs, state-of-the-art technology and lab analysis, and proactive monitoring to address any potential issues or changes in regulatory standards.   

Let’s all be thankful for the many programs we have in place that protect and increase our local drinking water supplies. Wishing you a joyful holiday season ahead!

15th Annual OC Water Summit

Nearly 350 business professionals, elected officials, academics, and water leaders attended the OC Water Summit on October 13 as we explored Finding Reliability.

Master of Ceremonies Fritz Coleman joined world-renowned experts, prominent authors and distinguished speakers to deliver engaging conversations on drought, infrastructure, climate change and our water supply future.

Thank you to all who attended and participated in these important discussions. This event, co-hosted by the Orange County Water District and the Municipal Water District of Orange County, could not be possible without the support of all our speakers and generous sponsors.

Photos from the event can be viewed on the OC Water Summit Facebook page and session videos will be made available on the OC Water Summit website.

Great Turnout at the Groundwater Adventure Tour

Thanks to all who attended the 2023 Groundwater Adventure Tour, helping make this educational program a huge success! The Groundwater Adventure Tour offers guests an opportunity to tour OCWD's world renowned facilities and learn about our local water supplies and how they are managed in an environmentally and financially sound manner.


More than 100 attendees spent the day with us and toured the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS), learned about the District's extensive groundwater recharge system, visited OCWD's wetlands in Prado Basin, and heard how we maintain high-quality water through our comprehensive water quality testing, sampling, and monitoring programs.


We hope you can join us next year! Contact us at info@ocwd.com if you'd like to be placed on the interest list for the next one. 


Two awards were bestowed upon the District at the 2023 Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) in October. Recognized by a coalition of esteemed national water organizations, OCWD was honored for inspiring the water sector through innovative and transformational programs and implementing water reuse into the District’s water management strategies.

The Utility of the Future Today program highlights water utilities that are reimagining community partnership and engagement, watershed stewardship, and water resources recovery. OCWD received special acknowledgement in the water reuse category for its commitment to advance water reuse programs and projects.

OCWD and its project partners also received a Project Excellence Award for the completion of the GWRS. Already the world’s largest water recycling facility, the GWRS now recycles 100% of OC San’s reclaimable wastewater flows and produces up to 130 million gallons of high-quality water a day – enough to serve nearly one million people.

Pictured above is Executive Director of Operations Mehul Patel, P.E., and Research Director Megan Plumlee, Ph.D., P.E., who were in attendance at the 2023 WEFTEC. Mehul also spoke on the panel, "The Water Reuse Landscape Through the Eyes of Industry Leaders."

Engaging a Global Audience

OCWD’s Executive Director of Water Quality and Technical Resources Jason Dadakis recently spoke on the panel “Fifty Years of Research & Innovation Driving Potable Reuse Implementation in the United States” at the International Desalination Association’s Seville Summit on Water and Climate Change. We are proud to have the opportunity to share our knowledge and expertise with others.

OCWD staff hosted a multi-day visit with representatives of Singapore Public Utilities Board (PUB) as part of an information exchange program between our two agencies. Representatives from Bedok NEWater Factory and Kranji NEWater Factory learned about many aspects of District operations, visited the GWRS, lab, and local PFAS treatment plants, and discussed OCWD's comprehensive community engagement programs. 

When It Rains, It Pours.... and We've Got You Covered

Missed this recent story from the OC Register about OCWD's stormwater capture efforts? Check it out here: After ‘miracle’ water year, can agencies capture more from next El Niño?

Interested in learning more about this past year's impressive rainfall numbers and how we are prepared for what's ahead? We may not be able to predict the weather, but when it does rain, we've got you covered.

Register for our webinar on November 13 at 12:00pm PST to hear about what the District is doing to maximize stormwater capture and groundwater recharge opportunities and increase drinking water supplies for Orange County. 

Register for the webinar

Thirsty for More Information?

Learn about OCWD's role in providing a safe, reliable, local water supply by attending an event, webinar or tour. Individuals and groups are invited to tour the award-winning GWRS and other District facilities. Through our active speakers bureau program, you may request for our expert staff to come speak to organizations and schools, as well as local, national and international conferences. 

Virtual Water Advisory Committee of Orange County (WACO) Meeting - Friday, November 3 at 7:30 a.m.

Virtual GWRS Tour - Friday, November 3 at 10:00 a.m.

Webinar: Lessons Learned in Stormwater Capture and Groundwater Recharge in 2022-2023 - Monday, November 13 at 12:00 p.m.

The Orange County Water District manages the local groundwater basin that provides 85% of the water supply for 19 cities and retail water districts in north and central Orange County, serving 2.5 million people. Guided by its commitment to sound planning and investment, high standards for water reliability, exceptional water quality, environmental stewardship, sound financial management, and transparency, OCWD has proactively implemented initiatives to protect and increase local water supplies. OCWD replenishes the basin, prevents seawater intrusion, and protects Orange County’s rights to Santa Ana River water.
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.

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For more information, please visit www.ocwd.com and follow @OCWaterDistrict on social media.