The Advanced Water Quality Assurance Laboratory provides cost-effective analytical services to District departments and programs requiring water quality information. The laboratory supports District departments of water quality, operations, recharge, planning and watershed management, engineering, and research & development. Laboratory services provide critical analytical information needed to make timely accurate decisions for regulatory requirements, as well as the direction and support of District policies. OCWD's facility is designed as a compliance-monitoring laboratory certified with the State of California.
The Orange County Water District (OCWD) is comprised of 21 departments, each serving a unique and valuable function to further the District's mission of providing a reliable, high-quality water supply in a cost-effective and environmentally responsible manner.
Advanced Water Quality Assurance Laboratory
The board administration department maintains all official District documents and records, compiles and prepares board and committee agendas and minutes to ensure compliance with all applicable state and federal laws, and performs other statutory duties as set forth in the District Act, including conflict of interest filings and publication of required legal notices.
The engineering department is responsible for planning, design and construction management of the District’s improvement projects. Projects range from small in-house modifications for existing facilities to major water treatment, pumping and conveyance facilities including the Groundwater Replenishment System. Engineering staff may perform the planning, design and construction management or manage outside consultants who will perform these functions. The staff provides engineering support as needed for ongoing water production, recharge, wetlands, seawater barrier, and property management operations. Engineering staff reviews proposed projects of other agencies that may impact District operations or lands.
The finance department is primarily responsible for all of the District’s accounting, finance and treasury functions, and manages the District’s debt and assets.
Finance and accounting reports and budgets
General manager's office
The general manager is charged with directing the activities of more than 210 full-time employees to manage and protect the large groundwater basin in northern and central Orange County, which supplies the majority of the water used by more than 2.5 million people.
The human resources department is primarily responsible for the District programs that integrate human value with water management objectives. Core activities include policy development and management, employee training and relations, OCEA negotiation, recruitment efforts, program implementation to meet new state and federal mandates, administration of benefits and insurance programs, management of OCWD compensation and retirement programs, and coordination of general personnel administration.
The hydrogeology department defines the physical characteristics of groundwater basin aquifers, determines groundwater flow pathways, and provides analyses and recommendations necessary to manage groundwater production, recharge, quality, and water levels within the basin.
Information services manages and supports a wide variety of District and non-District information systems, services and communication assets used by District staff and third-parties in support of groundwater basin management.
The local resources department develops the annual budget and manages various water programs with local groundwater producers. The department interacts, represents and processes agreements with outside agencies like the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC), water retailers, and the State of California Water Resources Control Board.
The department of natural resources manages resources in the Santa Ana River Watershed to improve water quality, water supply and habitat for the betterment of people and the environment. Natural Resources manages wildlife habitat and populations per mitigation requirements and regulatory permit compliance, and interacts with outside agencies like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority to represent OCWD interests in environmental planning.
Planning & watershed management
Planning and watershed management is primarily responsible for the District’s long-term planning, institutional interfacing with agencies upstream from Prado Dam, watershed management, and preparation of environmental documents. Department activities include planning new projects to increase the yield of the basin and protect water quality (shared with engineering and hydrogeology). Staff interfaces with watershed stakeholders, the Regional Water Quality Control Board and upstream agencies on issues affecting the Santa Ana River; participates in Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority task forces and work groups, cleanup of the Stringfellow hazardous waste plume in Riverside County, and other contamination sites in the upper watershed that may pose a threat to the Santa Ana River.
The property management department is responsible for the District’s properties, permits and leases covering more than 3,600 acres of land.
The public affairs department leads legislative and advocacy strategies, and implements public relations programs. The department is the liaison between the District's various public entities, ensuring a sharing of information and education to support the District's water supply efforts. Within public affairs, the District’s legislative team includes a legislative affairs liaison, the communications and legislative affairs committee, state advocates represented by Edelstein, Gilbert, Robson & Knight and Joe A. Gonsalves & Son, and federal consultants James F. McConnell, Holland and Knight, and ENS Resources. Together, the group brings countless years of experience and invaluable expertise in interfacing and partnering with leaders and government agencies, resulting in continued water quality and reliability in the District.
The purchasing department provides the District with reliable quality service and materials in a timely manner using ethical procurement standards, maintains the warehouse and inventory, prepares and administers District public works contracts and professional service agreements, and identifies and disposes of surplus equipment and vehicles. The department has been recognized for several years with the “Achievement of Excellence in Procurement” from the National Purchasing Institute. The award is designed to measure innovation, professionalism, productivity, and leadership attributes of the procurement function.
Recharge operations is responsible for the District’s core function to replenish the groundwater basin and manage the conservation pool behind Prado Dam. This entails recharging the Santa Ana River baseflows and stormflows, and imported water.
The regulatory affairs department helps to assure reasonable regulation of District projects and programs through interface with regulatory agencies, acquisition of necessary permits, and implementation of water quality monitoring and research programs to support district goals and compliance with regulatory requirements. The department is responsible for the District’s permits with the Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Department of Public Health, and the Orange County Health Care Agency.
Research & development
Research & development conducts basic and applied microbiological research leading to the development of new, more effective technologies to address the District’s groundwater and supply issues. As part of that, R&D researches promising technologies to improve water quality and to increase the efficiency of OCWD’s water treatment and recharge operations. It seeks external funding and publishes and presents research findings.
Safety & risk management
The safety & risk management department is responsible for the District’s environmental, health, safety, and security programs.
Water production / Groundwater Replenishment System
The water production department is responsible for a wide variety of District activities that include operations, maintenance and performance optimization of the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) and its pipeline, Green Acres Project (GAP) distribution and treatment plant, and Talbert seawater barrier system; and research and development projects aimed at maintaining the GWRS.
The water quality department implements water quality monitoring programs to protect and evaluate groundwater basin conditions and comply with regulatory requirements for drinking water wells and the District’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and water reclamation permits. The department is responsible for implementing water quality monitoring programs to protect and evaluate basin conditions, including emerging contaminants. It provides technical and field support for compliance programs, District projects, and research investigations; disseminates water quality information and assists with expansion and update of the Water Resources Management System (WRMS) database (historic and new water quality data); reviews and comments on regulatory and compliance issues; and provides support to ensure that the District complies with regulations pertaining to the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act amendments.
OCWD owns 2,150 acres above Prado Dam in Riverside County, of which 465 acres are constructed wetlands that have effectively demonstrated the ability to reduce nitrogen levels in Santa Ana River water. The Wetland Operations group is primarily responsible for the management and maintenance of the wetland facilities that provide natural water quality treatment of the Santa Ana River flows behind Prado Dam. The department also supports the Natural Resources group by implementing mitigation measures in accordance with inter-agency agreements.