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) received 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.
OCWD embarked on new outreach initiatives to further solidify its worldwide reputation in water reuse and garner support for other water reuse projects. New initiatives included leading efforts with WateReuse California and the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) to pass legislation (AB 2022) that allows the bottling of advanced purified water for educational purposes. OCWD and OCSD were the first to bottle such water in the Western Hemisphere. OCWD also opened its H2O Learning Center, which enhances GWRS and laboratory facility tours. In addition, OCWD enriched its already robust outreach programs: translated technical brochures into four additional languages, added social media #H2ODrop signage in the GWRS plant and an electronic water mosaic to post photos, incorporated videos created by WateReuse and the Australian Water Recycling Center of Excellence (AWRCE) at its Children’s Water Education Festival, created animated water cycle presentations for its tour and speakers bureau programs, and created new STEM hands-on activities for middle school tour guests called Next Generation Water Leaders.
“OCWD believes that its outreach should not stop just because its project [Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS)] is online. It is committed to continue spreading the word about the many benefits of water reuse in an effort to help bring more GWRS-like projects online,” says OCWD President Denis Bilodeau.