Water management officials in Southern California have much to be happy about in the New Year because this past Dec. 18, two important Orange County Water District (OCWD) projects
were included on the list of recommendations for Proposition 84 funding to be awarded by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR). For those outside of California, Prop 84 on the ballot in 2006, was known as the The Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act. Prop 84 authorizes $5.388 billion in general obligation bonds to fund safe drinking water, water quality and supply, flood control, waterway and natural resource protection, water pollution and contamination control, state and local park improvements, public access to natural resources, and water conservation efforts.
The announcement came from the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) Commission. SAWPA is the regional agency administrator for the Proposition 84 Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) Program for the Santa Ana River Watershed.
"We have a collaborative and dynamic relationship with upstream agencies who all benefit from the Santa Ana River," said Gina DePinto, speaking on behalf of the Orange County Water District. "We are proactive and aggressive in upper watershed management and in restorative habitat efforts," said DePinto who serves as Principal Communications Specialist for the water district.
Greg Woodside who serves as xecutive Director of Planning and Natural Resources for the Orange County Water District, explained, "funding is distributed in increments, this is the second round of funding." "It is just how the State of California operates this type of funding, distributing it through time incrementally," he said.
Twenty-two projects were recommended to receive $16 million in funding, including $750,000 to OCWD for its Prado Sediment Demonstration Project and $500,000 for its Alamitos Barrier Improvement Project. The Alamitos Barrier Improvement Project could receive an additional $500,000 contingent upon possible Prop. 84 Round 1 project funding carryover.
The $7.2 million Prado Sediment Demonstration Project proposes to remove sediment from within Prado Basin and reintroduce it into the river below Prado Dam. Partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the project will develop a new method to manage sediment movement in the Santa Ana River Watershed. Benefits of the project include increased water storage for flood control and water conservation, increasing the useful life of Prado Dam, reduced sedimentation trends that threaten infrastructure (i.e. wetlands, roads and bridges), and reduced streambed incision, thereby halting embankment erosion that results in wildlife habitat destruction.
The Alamitos Barrier Improvement Project includes construction of 20 additional injection wells at eight sites along the existing barrier alignment, four monitoring wells, and four shallow piezometers. The $10 million project will prevent seawater intrusion into Orange County’s potable aquifers, protect water quality, increase water supply in Orange County, and maintain the groundwater basin’s sustainable yield and water supply reliability.
OCWD has a collaborative partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, which operates and maintains the Alamitos Barrier facilities. OCWD plans on implementing two phases of barrier improvements, near-term and a long-term extension of the barrier to the south. This project deals exclusively with the near-term improvements.
DWR has tentatively scheduled approval for final grant awards in fall 2013. Funding will be provided after an agreement is executed between DWR and SAWPA. Officials estimate that to be distributed before the end of January.
The Orange County Water District manages the large groundwater basin that underlies north and central Orange County that provides most of the water for about 2.4 million citizens. OCWD is committed to enhancing Orange County’s groundwater quality and reliability in an environmentally friendly manner. With almost 80 years of prudent planning and careful investment, OCWD has doubled the sustainable yield of the groundwater basin.
OCWD is a special district established by the California State Legislature in 1933 and governed by a 10-member board of directors. Separate from the County of Orange, OCWD supplies water to residents in the cities of 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.
Courtesy of Orange County Water District media dept.
Managing rivers and streams is one of the major responsibilities of the Orange County Water District.