Director of Recharge and Wetland Operations
Ben Smith currently serves as the Director of Recharge and Wetland Operations for the Orange County Water District (OCWD, District). He is responsible for management and oversight of the operations and staff of the forebay (field headquarters) and Prado areas, which includes the recharge facilities and the Prado constructed wetlands. Ben is charged with optimizing system percolation, facility use planning, storm water capture and routing, imported and recycled water recharge, facility maintenance, and other related activities. Ben also manages administration of the District’s non-potable reuse project, the Green Acres Project.
Ben began his career with OCWD in 2010 as an engineering intern. In 2012, he was hired fulltime as an assistant engineer. Over the years, Ben managed the design, construction, and inspection of more than $100 million in capital improvement and repair projects. His projects included PFAS treatment facilities, injection and monitoring wells, spreading basins, pump stations, pipelines, emergency repairs, recycled water treatment and distribution, grading and site improvements, and culvert transfer tubes. He regularly conducts hydraulic and financial analyses, interagency agreements, regulatory permit compliance, and public presentations.
In addition to bachelor and master's degrees in civil engineering, Ben also earned a master's degree in public administration from California State University Long Beach (CSULB). He has served as a civil engineering lecturer at CSULB since 2014. Ben is a California and Arizona certified Professional Civil Engineer, California Water Treatment and Distribution Operator, and a Qualified SWPPP Designer. His professional affiliations include being an active member of the Environmental and Water Resources Institute, American Society of Civil Engineers, WateReuse, Engineers Without Borders, and Engineers for a Sustainable World. Ben was awarded the Recycled Water Staff Person of the Year by WateReuse California in 2021. He was also named the District’s Employee of the Year in 2018.