OCWD Celebrates 84th Anniversary

Eighty-four years ago, the California Legislature created the Orange County Water District, giving it broad powers to manage the Orange County Groundwater Basin and protect the county’s water rights to the natural flows of the Santa Ana River.

It was entrusted to conserve groundwater supplies, ensuring both water quality and quantity, to litigate for basin water rights, to import water from outside the watershed for basin replenishment, and to control, conserve and reclaim flood and stormwater for beneficial use in the basin.

Since then, it has collaborated with the Orange County Sanitation District to create the Groundwater Replenishment System, which supplies 30 percent of the water used to put back in the basin. The basin stores 75 percent of the drinking water for 2.4 million people in north and central Orange County.

OCWD is also working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to capture and hold additional stormwater behind Prado Dam to be used during drier times. The District is researching alternative water sources such as local desalination to guarantee water during cyclical droughts. 

In addition, it is safeguarding the basin, finding the best possible solutions for cleanup of the known groundwater contamination in the north and south parts of the basin.

The Orange County Water District provides appropriate investments, sound planning and financial management, is an environmental steward, and is transparent, above all, as a public special district—the oldest in California with groundwater management authority.  

To learn more about the Orange County Water District, visit the history page on our website.

Please join us in wishing OCWD a happy 84th birthday!