Agencies Collaborate on Federal Funding for Critical Water Supply Project

The Orange County Sanitation District’s (OCSD) water recycling project qualified for funding eligibility from the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) Title XVI under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. One of 38 projects to qualify for this competitive funding, the project’s end goal is to increase the amount of water sent to the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS), a joint effort of OCSD and the Orange County Water District (OCWD) and the world’s largest water reuse facility of its kind.

“This project will move the Orange County Sanitation District one step closer to our goal of recycling 100 percent of our reclaimable wastewater,” said OCSD Board Chairman Greg Sebourn. “We appreciate the USBR’s efforts to help us fund this critical water supply project to make it more cost effective for the region,” he added.

This funding opportunity is only for sponsors of water recycling projects that completed a Title XVI Feasibility Study. Working jointly with OCWD, OCSD completed its Effluent Reuse Study (SP-173) that supports its Effluent Reuse Implementation Project-Headworks Segregation. The project will implement necessary OCSD facility improvements to provide an adequate supply of highly treated wastewater needed for the operation of the GWRS final expansion. The expansion will bring 30 million gallons a day (MGD) of additional water to the region, enough water for more than 250,000 people annually. This would bring the project’s total water production to 130 MGD, enough water for over one million people. 

“Using a three-step advanced purification process, the GWRS provides a new, reliable, high-quality source of water to refill the Orange County Groundwater Basin that we manage,” said OCWD Board President Denis Bilodeau. “With water supply challenges and the next drought around the corner OCWD always looks to increase long-term water reliability and our investment in the final expansion affirms this commitment. It’s important to maximize every drop and we’re doing our part to tap into this supply with our long-time partners at the sanitation district,” he added.

OCSD and OCWD worked to complete and submit the funding application on August 15, 2017 and it’s anticipated that the USBR will fund four to eight awards depending on requested funding. Award recipients are responsible for 75 percent or more of total project costs and the USBR may provide up to 25 percent of the total cost of planning, design and/or construction that will take place before September 30, 2019.

The WIIN Act was enacted in December 2016, to address water resources infrastructure that is critical to the nation's economic growth, health and competitiveness. Since 1992, Title XVI funding has been used to provide communities with new sources of clean water, while promoting water and energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. For more information about Title XVI, please visit https://www.usbr.gov/watersmart/title. To view a list of all eligible projects, visit https://www.usbr.gov/watersmart/title/feasibility.html.