Water Infrastructure is a Valuable Investment
“The future won’t wait. Neither can we. It’s #TimeToBuild” are the resounding messages of 2018 Infrastructure Week, May 14-21.
Infrastructure is an investment worth making and is critical to America’s future. Water infrastructure and the lack of infrastructure updates are of particular interest to the Orange County Water District and the people in its service area.
The Oroville Dam crisis in Northern California didn’t just affect the nearly 200,000 people living downstream from the crumbled spillway, it is crucial to the State Water Project, which supplies imported water for millions of people, businesses and farms from the north all the way through Southern California. OCWD buys about 10 billion gallons each year from the State Water Project and adds the imported water to its groundwater recharge basins in Anaheim and Orange.
Water mains, depending on the type of pipe used and soil in which they are placed, have a lifespan of 50 to about 80 years, and sometimes 100. In many of our cities, they have been underground for more than 100 years. We looked with great concern as dozens broke in the Los Angeles/Orange County area during the recent drought, losing precious gallons of water.
All water agencies and districts must effectively plan, build, maintain, and manage infrastructure for their communities. The Orange County Water District is expanding or building a number of new water infrastructure projects to ensure long-term sustainability. More than $400 million will be invested to build the following projects:
- The Mid-Basin Injection Well Project in Santa Ana involves the construction of four underground injection wells at Centennial Park and two monitoring wells at the Heritage Museum. The water supply to the injection wells would be advanced purified water from the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) water treatment plant in Fountain Valley. A pipeline would be constructed that would extend from the GWRS water supply pipeline along the Santa Ana River to Centennial Park where it would branch off to the four injection well sites. When in operation, the four injection wells would be able to provide approximately 8 million gallons per day of additional groundwater recharge capacity to the Orange County Groundwater Basin. The project is due to be completed in mid-2019.
- The Upper and Lower Five Coves Rehabilitation Project has completed its design phase and bids for construction have been received. The project will repair or replace several structures within the Five Coves Basins that convey water from the Off River to Lincoln Basin in Anaheim. It will include construction of a new flow measurement structure at the end of the Off River, construction of a new surface transfer structure between Upper and Lower Five Coves, and the replacement of the gate and inlet between Lower Five Coves and Lincoln Basin. Project completion is expected in fall 2018.
- The Talbert Barrier pipeline replacement project design kick-off meeting recently took place. The proposed project will alleviate bottleneck restrictions at two locations in Fountain Valley where larger distribution pipeline will replace under-sized piping that restricted the amount of flow to barrier well sites and required higher pumping costs. These locations include the pipelines at the intersection of Ward/Ellis and the barrier pipeline beneath the Talbert Channel. This design project is due to be completed in October 2018.
- The Alamitos Barrier Injection Well Improvement Project to build 17 new freshwater injection wells and four new deep and two shallow monitoring wells that will further protect Orange County from seawater intrusion is underway near Seal Beach Leisure World. Conduit pull box and vault installation is proceeding, and the ninth of the 17 injection well vaults was recently completed. Project completion is anticipated for summer of 2018.
- The Groundwater Replenishment System Final Expansion has begun. It will produce 30 million additional gallons per day of advanced purified water, for a total of 130 million gallons each day. That amount is enough to satisfy the water needs for one million people. The project is due to be completed in 2023.
To learn more about OCWD’s infrastructure projects, please visit the Construction updates page on the District’s website.