Mar 02, 2001

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez Receives Water Visionary Award

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez has been presented with the Orange County Water District (OCWD) and the Orange County Sanitation District's (OCSD) first Water Visionary Award.

The Award was presented by Jerry A. King, President of the OCWD Board, Norm Eckenrode, President of the OCSD Board and Irv Pickler, Chairman of the two agencies' Joint Cooperative Committee for the Groundwater Replenishment (GWR) System -- a proposed project that will provide a new, drought-proof, high-quality water for Orange County's groundwater basin.

Congresswoman Sanchez represents District 46 which covers the cities of Anaheim, Garden Grove, Orange and Santa Ana. She was selected for the Water Visionary Award based on her Congressional support of water issues in Orange County and specifically for her support of the new, proposed GWR System project. Sanchez is working to increase the federal funding for the GWR System project from $20 million to $80 million. Sanchez has also been instrumental in ensuring Orange County receives federal funding for various water-related projects.

"I am honored to be awarded the Water Visionary Award from the Orange County Water District and Orange County Sanitation District," Sanchez said. "By investing in water technology today, we are investing in the future of Orange County."

The GWR System is a joint water-purification project between OCWD and OCSD. The project will initially purify 70 million gallons per day of highly treated wastewater through membrane technology, resulting in near-distilled quality water. Part of the water will then be injected underground to form a seawater intrusion barrier along the coast. The remaining water will be transported to Anaheim and percolated into Orange County's large groundwater basin to help lower the mineral content of groundwater. This water will provide a new, drought-proof supply of water while also improving the overall quality of the water in Orange County's groundwater basin.

The Award, which contained a mounted and framed ultraviolet lightbulb, represents the high-tech, ultraviolet disinfection system to be used by the proposed GWR System. OCWD and OCSD created the Water Visionary Award to recognize elected officials who have recognized the importance of water in Orange County and the need for projects like the Groundwater Replenishment System to ensure Orange County's stable water future.

Orange County Water District is a special agency that was created by the California State Legislature in 1933 to maintain and manage the groundwater basin under northern and central Orange County. OCWD's groundwater basin supplies 75 percent of the water needs in Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.

Orange County Sanitation District is the largest wastewater treatment system west of the Mississippi River, serving 2.2 million residents in northern and central Orange County.