OCWD Goes to Washington

Denis BilodeauIn late April, First Vice President and Member of the OCWD Board of Directors Denis Bilodeau recently presented before the Committee on Environment and Public Works in Washington, D.C. with regard to the provision of a safe and reliable water supply. The “Hearing on New Approaches  and Innovative Technologies to Improve Water Supply” delved into the implications associated with an uncertain water supply future and how, as a nation, we must respond to this challenge that has global security, economic and social implications.

In addressing this, Director Bilodeau gave an overview of the Orange County Water District—the decline of the Santa Ana River baseflow, its main source of surface water, and restrictions on imported water supplies from Northern California and the Colorado River. He went on to discuss how OCWD and its partner, the Orange County Sanitation District, developed a sustainable response to drought conditions—the Groundwater Replenishment System and how the citizens of Orange County have conserved water. But, it’s not enough.

Director Bilodeau spoke about the potential opportunity of desalination to help secure a safe and reliable water supply and the need to commit resources for research and technology development. He also noted that for agencies that must address the needs of their ratepayers, one of the greatest challenges is the cost of desalinated water.

In addition, he spoke of OCWD’s suggested policy changes to the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) as it is being reauthorized and the District’s support of Water in the 21st Century Act (S. 176) that offers a framework to advance innovative solutions from water recycling to desalination to water data collection and energy efficiency among other initiatives.

Finally, Director Bilodeau’s statement was followed by questions and answers.