Sound planning

OCWD’s mission is to provide a reliable, high-quality water supply in a cost-effective and environmentally sensitive manner. Ensuring that Orange County businesses and residents continue to receive the water they need, when they need it, requires planning and investment. OCWD’s planning takes into account long-term water supply challenges and environmental issues in Southern California, Northern California and the Southwest.

OCWD’s proactive approach to planning and investment has already resulted in a groundwater basin that is protected against seawater intrusion and has doubled in annual yield since the 1960s. Increased groundwater yield is primarily due to OCWD’s investments in using recycled and imported water to replenish groundwater, and programs that increase the amount of recharge of surface water from the Santa Ana River and rainwater.

As arid Orange County continues to grow and be challenged by increasing demand and constrained imported water supplies, we are planning and investing in ways to get even more water into and out of the groundwater basin. The Groundwater Replenishment System, which went online in January 2008, is a reliable water supply to prevent seawater intrusion and to recharge our groundwater basin. With the completion of the initial expansion phase in 2015, it provides 100 million gallons of water per day, enough to satisfy the needs of 850,000 people. OCWD plans to complete the final expansion of the Groundwater Replenishment System by 2023. At that time, the project will be creating 130 million gallons of water per day, enough to satisfy the needs of 1 million people. We are very proud of this visionary water project and the high-quality water it produces.

OCWD was sought out by the governor of California and key water policymakers for its expertise in sound planning and sustaining groundwater supplies during drafting of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014. This established, for the first time, a framework for sustainable management of groundwater supplies by local authorities and OCWD played a role in its formulation. District representatives were called to Sacramento to give testimony and guidance as OCWD had a proven track record of successful groundwater management planning.

OCWD’s sound planning priorities:

  • Conservative approach to water supply and reliability planning
  • Long-term view and regional perspective on reliability planning with 20-year planning horizon
  • Regional scope, including southwest, watershed, and Orange County reliability issues
  • Collaboration with water agencies in Orange County and the Santa Ana Watershed
  • Long-term facilities plan – updated every five years
  • Groundwater management plan – updated every five years
  • Comprehensive asset management