President’s Message — Happy 105th Anniversary to Santa Ana

The city of Santa Ana celebrated its 150th anniversary of remarkable history on Oct. 27, 2019. I am pleased to be a councilmember and the one appointed to serve the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) on its board of directors.

There are three OCWD board members who are appointed rather than elected. They are those representing Santa Ana, Fullerton and Anaheim. The reason is part of my city’s rich history and I’d like to, first, share some of its highlights with you.

The earliest known origins of what is now the city of Santa Ana revolve around the tribal Tongva and Juaneno/Luiseno people who were indigenous to the area.

The city of Santa Ana was listed as a township of Los Angeles County in the 1860 census, when its population totaled only 756 people. Then, in 1869, William H. Spurgeon claimed the Santa Ana land, obtained from the descendants of Jose Antonio Yorba, and the “Golden City” of Santa Ana was founded. Santa Ana was incorporated as a city in 1886 and in 1889 became the seat of the newly formed Orange County.

On Nov. 11, 1952, the citizens of Santa Ana adopted a City Charter. Over the years, Santa Ana has lent its name to a freeway, nearby mountains, a fish in the river, and the infamous winds of Southern California.

During 1953, the city of Santa Ana joined the Orange County Water District, which was formed by the California Legislation in 1933 to manage the groundwater basin, conserve groundwater supplies and protect Orange County’s water rights to the natural flows of the Santa Ana River. Together with Fullerton and Anaheim, Santa Ana is a member of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD).

OCWD membership allowed for the three cities to actively participate in the management of the Orange County Groundwater Basin. Santa Ana, as well as the other two, gets to appoint a director to the 10-member OCWD Board of Directors.

I am very happy to say that we, along with our OCWD member agencies and board members, have worked side by side with District staff to create some phenomenal groundwater and water reuse projects over the years, including the construction of the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS). The GWRS is an engineering wonder. It is the world’s largest advanced water purification project for potable reuse and is the industry standard. This project recycles 100 million gallons per day of wastewater that is treated to drinking water standards and recharged into the groundwater basin.

Water is at the heart of a growing, vibrant economy and Santa Ana’s comes primarily from the Orange County Groundwater Basin that OCWD manages. Santa Ana’s tap water is also some of the best tasting and high-quality. In 2018, it received the gold medal in the “Best Municipal Water” category at the 28th annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting, the largest and longest running competition in the world dedicated to preserving and protecting drinking water. Santa Ana had also claimed the gold medal in 2014, preceded by the city’s bronze and silver medals in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Today, the city of Santa Ana has flourished, and the population has grown to over 338,000 people, making it one of the most populous cities in the county.

The city of Santa Ana is recognized as a center for commercial, financial, and manufacturing businesses, and has become a major hub for economic activity in Southern California. It is widely known for its unique and essential diversity, civic and social activism, heroic individual and community accomplishment, selfless sacrifice, progressive idealism, steadfast governance, and an active and caring populace.

Please join me in congratulating the city of Santa Ana on the occasion of its 150th anniversary and wishing it a bright and successful future for its residents and businesses.