September 2017

OCWD Board Members


Denis R. Bilodeau, P.E.

First Vice President

 Philip L. Anthony

Second Vice President

Shawn Dewane 

Cathy Green
Dina L. Nguyen, ESQ.
Vicente Sarmiento
Stephen R. Sheldon
James Vanderbilt
Bruce Whitaker
Roger C. Yoh, P.E.

General Manager

Michael R. Markus
P.E., D.WRE.

In This Issue:


President’s Message — Water Tax is a Bad Solution

Safe water flows reliably to the majority of homes, schools and businesses day in and day out in California. But residents who live in rural, low-income communities, face a different daily reality and may not have access to safe drinking water.

We recognize the severity of the problem and support the implementation of effective solutions, including sensible funding solutions, to bring clean, safe drinking water to all communities throughout the state.

In Orange County, we are committed to providing reliable, safe drinking water to more than 2.4 million people in the Orange County Water District’s (OCWD; the District) service area. Through our rigorous monitoring and testing programs and our world-renowned projects such as the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) we are doing our part to support this statewide effort. We are also doing our part to plan for the future and invest in infrastructure like the GWRS to offset costly and unreliable imported water, which keeps our water rates as low as possible and ensures our water supply is safe.  Read More…

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Denis R. Bilodeau, P.E.




OCWD Leads National Science Foundation-Funded Study to Test New Technology

The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) is a recipient, with the University of Maryland and CosmosID, Inc., of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that will aid the water industry in its continued effort to improve water quality. The $100,000 award will be used to apply metagenomics, an exciting new technology that holds significant promise to water quality assessment.  This technology will provide comprehensive information on microbial water quality and ecology of water treatment and distribution systems. Compared to current microbial techniques, metagenomics with exceptional speed, accuracy and affordability provides improved identification of microbial communities. Read More…

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OC Integrated Regional Water Management Plan Draft Available for Public Review Oct. 17-Nov. 15

A draft of the newly updated Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) Plan for north and central Orange County will be available for comments beginning October 17. The new plan combines two existing plans: the Central Orange County IRWM Plan that was completed in 2012 and the North Orange County IRWM Plan that was completed in 2011. 

OCWD partnered with the County of Orange, water districts, cities in the region, and other agencies and groups to identify and prioritize regional water resource management goals.  The new plan will describe strategies that aim to achieve these goals and will incorporate new state requirements.  An important part of the planning process will be identifying potential projects that provide multiple benefits on a regional scale and are sponsored by more than one agency or organization.

The comment period for the draft plan will be October 17 to November 15, 2017.  If you have any questions or wish to be put on the mailing list, please contact Marsha Westropp at  

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Great California ShakeOut Takes Place Oct. 19

Nine years ago, the Great ShakeOut began in California to stress the importance of being prepared for earthquakes, which, like droughts, are inevitable in the Golden State. Just recently, an earthquake drill took place just before a 7.1 earthquake hit Mexico. The drill is credited for saving many lives during that quake.

On Oct. 19 at 10:19 a.m., you are invited to join the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill and practice “Drop, Cover and Hold On” and learn other safety procedures to prepare, survive and recover quickly from a debilitating earthquake. Visit the Great California ShakeOut website beforehand to plan your drill and learn recommended earthquake safety actions for the able bodied and those with disabilities, young and old, whether in your home, office, outdoors, or in a car. The website also features posters, banners and other resources that can be printed. Learn to prepare a disaster kit for family members and pets.

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OCWD Receives 2017 Public Education Program of the Year Award

The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) received the WateReuse 2017 Public Education Program of the Year Award. The presentation was made during the Annual WateReuse Awards Luncheon held September 12 in conjunction with the 32nd Annual WateReuse Symposium. OCWD General Manager Mike Markus (shown in photo) accepted it on the District’s behalf.

WateReuse, an internationally-recognized thought-leader on alternative water supply development, annually recognizes people and projects that have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in advancing sustainable, locally controlled water supplies. Recipients have successfully advanced the development of alternative water supplies or developed a novel approach to meeting local water needs. Read More…

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OCWD Expert Briefs Congress on Membrane Technology

Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) General Manager Mike Markus recently discussed the importance of membrane technologies to provide for a sustainable water supply, highlighting the leading role the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) has provided since its original conception, during a roundtable discussion at the U.S. Department of Interior and on Capitol Hill during a Congressional Briefing.  

The Department of Interior roundtable highlighted how membrane technology can help address the nation’s water supply and quality challenges and included an overview of the function and application of membranes, and discussion of how utilities are addressing contaminants of emerging concern.  The event was co-hosted by the WateReuse Association, the American Membrane Technology Association and the Water Environment Federation. Read More…

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Abstracts Sought Regarding Managed Aquifer Recharge

The 16th Biennial Symposium on Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR): Recharge to the Rescue! Managed Aquifer Recharge as a Water Management Tool, will take place on March 5-7, 2018 in San Diego. The 1.5 day symposium, presented by the Groundwater Resources Association and the Arizona Hydrological Society, will feature numerous oral presentations, poster presentations, an awards luncheon as well as optional workshops the day prior to the symposium. 

Managed Aquifer Recharge is the intentional refilling of a groundwater basin in a way to assure protection of human health and the environment. 

Abstracts are being sought for oral and poster presentations on several topics that include MAR Testing, Design and Construction; MAR Operations and Maintenance; MAR Governance; MAR and Water Resources Management; MAR Case Studies; and other issues related to MAR. The Abstract submission deadline is November 1, 2017. To submit an abstract go to

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OCWD Receives $400,000 in Federal Funding for Research

The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) received two research grants totaling $400,000 from the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) Desalination and Water Purification (DWPR) program.

OCWD’s research will provide critical data to support advancements in water reuse and treatment. The first grant will enable OCWD to conduct pilot-scale testing on closed circuit desalination (CCD) and forward osmosis (FO) as alternate technologies that can be used to recover water from reverse osmosis (RO) concentrate. The second research grant will fund a water quality study to determine the occurrence of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) and NDMA precursors at OCWD’s advanced wastewater reclamation facility including diurnal trends and efficacy of RO and ultraviolet-advanced oxidation (UV-AOP). Read More…

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Presenters Needed for the 2018 Children’s Water Education Festival

Presenters are needed to help empower more than 7,500 third, fourth and fifth grade Orange County students to protect and conserve water and the environment at the 22nd annual Children’s Water Education Festival. The Festival will be held March 28-29, 2018 at the University of California, Irvine.

Activity lessons should focus on educating students about water, the environment and STEM, and what they can do to conserve and protect our precious natural resources. Interested organizations may register at Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

The Festival is presented by the Orange County Water District, the Disneyland Resort, National Water Research Institute, and OCWD Groundwater Guardian Team. For additional information, please call (714) 378-3257.

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Out in the Community

As part of its standard to forge and maintain long-term, positive and proactive relationships with members of the local community and greater water industry and to be transparent about its operations and programs, OCWD board members and staff speak regularly before groups and at events.  We participated in the following during August:

  • •     OCWD Director Roger Yoh and Executive Director of Engineering & Water Resources John Kennedy gave a presentation to the Placentia Rotary Club.
  • •     Directors Vicente Sarmiento and Cathy Green participated on a panel about water policy and climate resiliency that was part of an event hosted by the William C. Velasquez Institute.
  • •     Director of Special Projects Bill Hunt and Laboratory Director Lee Yoo, were invited to present their papers, “Microfiltration & Ultrafiltration Pilot Study Results for Orange County Water District’s GWRS Expansion Project"  and “ Performance Based Analytical Method for Determination of 1,4-Dioxane and 1,3-Dioxolane in Water Treatment System” at the 5th Busan Global Water Forum  in Busan, Korea  The assembled group was keenly interested in the OCWD experience and welcomed the OCWD speakers as international leaders in sustainable water management.

Read More…
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OCWD in the News

OCWD continues to be recognized for its leadership in the water industry.  Below are a few of the District’s recent media highlights that feature OCWD and the GWRS:

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OCWD Employees

OCWD’s employees are its most valuable resources. It is committed to recruiting the best and enriching their lives to grow within the water industry and the District family.


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Upcoming Events

October 4: 5:30 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting (Boardroom)

October 5: 8:00 a.m. Communications/Legislative Committee Meeting (C-2)

October 11: 8:00 a.m. Water Issues Committee Meeting (Boardroom)

October 12: 8:00 a.m. Admin/Finance Committee Meeting (C-2)

October 13: 7:30 a.m. Water Advisory Committee of Orange County (WACO) (Boardroom)

October 18: 5:30 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting (Boardroom)

October 19: 10:19 a.m. Great ShakeOut

October 26: Groundwater Adventure Tour [reservations required]

October 27:  noon Property Management Committee Meeting (C-2)

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August Tours

Thank you to the more than 160 guests who toured OCWD’s facilities in August:

Guests included members of the Orange County Grand Jury (pictured above) and Lincoln Club of Orange County; representatives from the University of Arizona and STEM Quest PBL Institute; students from the UCI Student Exchange Program, and Azusa Pacific, CSU Fullerton and West Coast University nursing programs; staff from Congressman Ed Royce’s office; representatives from the Republic of Korea National Human Resources Development Institute & Ministry of Personnel Management and from the Silicon Valley Water District; a delegation from the Hebei Provincial Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, China; and members of the general public.

Public tours of the Groundwater Replenishment System are offered at 10 a.m. on the first Friday of every month; reservations are required. Tours may be scheduled for other days of the week, depending on staff availability. To schedule a tour, request more information or schedule a speaker, please visit

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