The Orange County Water District (OCWD) was named 2006 Client of the Year by the Orange County Chapter of the Consulting Engineers and Land Surveyors of California (CELSOC) at its first Lifetime Achievement and Client of the Year Awards ceremony held recently. The awards dinner attracted approximately 150 persons representing consultants, public officials and water industry leaders.
“Consideration for the Client of the Year Award was given to entities that have shown significant and long lasting contributions to the Orange County engineering community,” said Bart Patton, national director of CELSOC, a statewide organization representing 1,200 private consulting engineering and land surveying firms. “The Orange County Water District exemplifies leadership, innovation and resourcefulness with a valid interest in improving the local community.”
The district was recognized for its leadership and innovation managing the Orange County groundwater basin, its unwavering commitment to constantly improving water quality and reliability, and its use of consultants in the delivery of engineering projects. OCWD groundwater is approximately half the cost of imported water. Over the past 30 years, OCWD has doubled the annual yield from the basin resulting in millions of dollars in annual savings to residents within OCWD by mitigating future rate increases.
“OCWD has the motto, ‘A Tradition of Innovation.’ From our ability to manage the basin to provide reliability during local reoccurring droughts to our proactive philosophy on water quality and safety, OCWD is one of the world’s most respected groundwater management agencies. We thank CELSOC for recognizing the many years of water leadership and innovation and for selecting us to receive this first ever award,” said Phil Anthony, president of the OCWD Board of Directors.
In addition, OCWD is constructing the largest indirect potable reuse water project in the world. The internationally recognized Groundwater Replenishment (GWR) System is a joint project of the Orange County Water District and Orange County Sanitation District, and will provide a new, near-distilled quality water supply that will meet the needs of 144,000 families yearly beginning in 2007. The GWR System takes highly treated sewer water and purifies it for an expanded seawater barrier and to refill Orange County’s groundwater basin.
As an environmentally responsible organization, OCWD’s environmental mitigation program to support storing water behind Prado Dam has resulted in an increase of breeding pairs of the endangered California song bird, the Least Bells vireo, from 18 pairs in the early 1980s to over 500 breeding pairs today.