February 2019

OCWD Board Members


Vicente Sarmiento, Esq.

First Vice President

Cathy Green

Second Vice President

Stephen R. Sheldon

Denis R. Bilodeau, P.E.
Jordan Brandman
Dina L. Nguyen, Esq.
Kelly E. Rowe, C.E.G., C.H.
Tri Ta
Bruce Whitaker
Roger C. Yoh, P.E.

General Manager

Michael R. Markus

In This Issue:

President’s Message—MBI Receives Two Top Engineering Awards

If you have visited the Heritage Museum or Centennial Park in Santa Ana recently, you may have noticed construction equipment and activity. They are part of the Orange County Water District’s (OCWD; the District) Mid Basin Centennial Park Injection Well Project (MBI).

Set to be complete in 2019, the project will inject purified water from the Groundwater Replenishment System, the world’s largest advanced purification project for potable reuse, into the principal aquifer and provide an additional source of water to replenish the Orange County Groundwater Basin.

As the OCWD board member appointed to represent the constituents of Santa Ana, I am honored to share the news that this project has recently received two outstanding engineering awards. It was recognized with the Water Treatment Project of the Year Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers—Orange County Branch (ASCE OC). The 2.5-year $29.5 million MBI project also received the Orange County Engineering Council (OCEC) Project Achievement Award. Read More…

Back to Top 

Vicente Sarmiento, Esq.






How Would You Rate Your Groundwater Awareness?

By OCWD Recharge Planning Manager Adam Hutchinson (Vice President of GRAC)

You hear a lot about “self” awareness, “social” awareness and many other types of awareness.  But how about “groundwater” awareness? Like self and social elements, groundwater is largely invisible to the naked eye. Given that you are reading this article, you probably have a greater awareness of groundwater than most. 

To promote greater groundwater awareness, the National Groundwater Association started National Groundwater Awareness Week (#GWAW) 20 years ago to highlight the responsible development, management, and use of groundwater. This year it is taking place on March 10-16. This year’s theme, Think, was designed to urge each of us to consider various ways we can protect our most valuable natural resource. So Think about not running the water while you brush your teeth. Or Think about getting that leaking faucet fixed. Think about the farmers that rely on groundwater to grow the food we eat. And Think about having your well inspected to protect your drinking water system. In short, during #GWAW, Think about our future. Read More...

Back to Top


OCWD Director Bilodeau Inducted into UCI Engineering Hall of Fame

Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) Board of Director Denis Bilodeau, P.E., was inducted into the University of California Irvine (UCI) Samueli School of Engineering Hall of Fame on Feb. 8, 2019. The Hall of Fame honors those who have made a significant impact in their profession, or in other ways have brought distinction to their alma mater.

Director Bilodeau graduated in 1991 from UCI, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering, and he is a registered civil and traffic engineer. He is one of 12 Samueli School of Engineering Hall of Fame inductees this year and one of four in the engineering category. Director Bilodeau was nominated for his impact on the field of engineering for leading the effort to bring the world’s largest water reclamation facility, the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS), online. Read More…

Back to Top


Inspiring Next Generation Water Leaders at OCWD

Next Generation Water Leaders is Orange County Water District’s (OCWD) newest educational experience for local students in grades 6-12. This year-round program, offered to public, private and home-schooled children, is co-presented by OCWD and Inside the Outdoors, a hands-on environmental education program administered by the Orange County Department of Education.

Next Generation Water Leaders complements Next Generation Science Standards in California schools and is designed to inspire future water scientists, engineers, policy makers, environmentalists, and innovators. 

During Next Generation Water Leaders lessons, Orange County students learn about where water comes from; how water is reused in Orange County and around the world; technologies used to test, clean and deliver water; careers in the water industry, and each student’s role in protecting water supplies. Read More…

Back to Top


OC Water Summit—Fritz Coleman Returns as Emcee

Popular NBC4 Weathercaster Fritz Coleman will return for his third year as emcee of the OC Water Summit on Friday, May 31 at the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif.

The 12th Annual Summit puts water under the microscope, taking a close look at the challenges and competing interests shaping local, state, national, and international water supplies.

Coleman is always a favorite, providing his yearly “water forecast” – lending his interesting and light-hearted  perspective to an otherwise sobering topic.

Among the many prominent authors and world-renowned experts who will be featured at this year’s OC Water Summit is California Forestry Association President Rich Gordon. Water shortages have hindered the effective fighting of California’s devastating wildfires. Gordon will discuss whether a solution lies in environmental policy or forestry management.

He is one of nearly 20 presenters and panelists slated for the event, which is well-attended by hundreds of professionals, elected officials, water industry experts, scholars, and individuals with a thirst for water knowledge. To ensure your registration or learn more, visit www.ocwatersummit.com.

The OC Water Summit is co-hosted by the Orange County Water District and the Municipal Water District of Orange County. 
Back to Top


Tres Amigos Video Celebrates Children’s Water Education Festival

Tres Amigos is an amusing video tribute to the work and dedication given to Orange County Water District’s (OCWD) Children’s Water Education Festival (CWEF) presentations.

Director of Recharge and Wetlands Operations John Bonsangue, Principal Hydrogeologist Dave Mark and Senior Hydrogeologist Gary Yoshiba are featured as they prepare for eight back-to-back presentation at the two-day yearly festival that provides unique learning experiences for more than 7,000 third, fourth and fifth grade Orange County students.

OCWD is grateful to its staff; Disneyland Environmental Affairs; National Water Research Institute; University of California, Irvine (UCI); Disney VoluntEARS; and the hundreds of volunteers that help make this annual event happen. To volunteer for the 23rd annual CWEF, taking place March 27 and 28 at UCI, visit https://www.childrenwaterfestival.com/.

Back to Top



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 recently participated in the following: 

  • •   Directors Cathy Green, Steve Sheldon, Kelly Rowe, and Jordan Brandman joined General Manager Mike Markus and Legislative Liaison Alicia Dunkin in a meeting with U.S. Congressman Mike Levin to provide an OCWD briefing.
  • •   Director Green, along with Director of Public Affairs Eleanor Torres and Senior Watershed Planner Marsha Westropp, presented details about OCWD’s Next Generation Water Leaders program and a proposed visitor center to officials at Huntington Beach Union High School District.
  • •   General Manager Mike Markus and staff met with Major General Spellmon and Brigadier General Colloton of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to discuss Corps projects at Prado Dam and the Santa Ana River.

Read More…

Back to Top


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:

Back to Top


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.

Employee of the Year—Engineer Ben Smith

Engineer Ben Smith was chosen as Employee of the Year (2018) by his fellow employees for the following reasons:

Ben is recognized for his management of the award-winning Mid Basin Expansion – Centennial Park Project, which took several years of coordination with the city of Santa Ana, Santa Ana Unified School District, Santa Ana College, Heritage Museum, and nearby residents.

As project manager, he attends and presents updates about the Mid Basin Expansion at stakeholder’s, neighborhood association and professional association meetings. He routinely performs night time inspections of the pipeline construction and well drilling not only to check construction work but to ensure all the requirements are being met that minimize local neighborhood impacts.

Congratulations Ben!


Robert Raley has been promoted to the Process Control System Manager position that oversees the Instrumentation and Electrical (I&E) group.  Robert will be replacing Jay Kalinowski (who is currently in that role) upon his retirement in March. 

Robert has more than 28 years of experience in electrical systems maintenance. He has been an OCWD employee for 13 years and has served as a senior I&E technician as well as a lead instrumentation/electrical technician. For the last four years, he has been a supervisor in the I&E group.  Robert has developed a wide-ranging skill set that will be valuable in his new role. 

New Hires




















Back to Top 



Upcoming Events

March 1 : 7:30 a.m. Water Advisory Committee of Orange County (WACO) Meeting (Boardroom)

March 6 : 5:30 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting (Boardroom)

March 7 : 8:00 a.m. Communications/Legislative Committee Meeting (C-2)

March 13 : 8:00 a.m. Water Issues Committee Meeting (Boardroom)

March 14 : 8:00 a.m. Administration/Finance Committee Meeting (C-2)

March 20 : 5:30 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting (Boardroom)

March 22 :  noon  Property Management Committee Meeting (C-2)

March 26: 8:00 a.m. Retirement Committee Meeting (C-2)

Back to Top 


January Tours 

Thank you to the more than 700 guests who toured OCWD’s facilities in January. They included students from Brea-Olinda, Dana Hills, Godinez, and Katella high schools; students from University of Southern California, Taft Elementary School and ERDT EnVision; delegations from China and Korea; and staff from Triad Engineering, the California Department of Water Resources and Boeing.

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 http://www.ocwd.com/contact-us/

Back to Top


                                                                              CONTACT US

                                                                           18700 Ward Street
                                                                      Fountain Valley, CA 92708

You are receiving this email from the Orange County Water District. If you would like to be removed from OCWD's Hydrospectives email list, please respond to this email with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line. Thank you. 
Back to Top