Orange County Water District moving forward with long-term storage program with Metropolitan Water District

Orange County Water District plans to enter into an agreement with Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, allowing MWD to store imported water in the Orange County groundwater basin.

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Nov. 6, 2001 — Orange County Water District (OCWD) plans to enter into a historic agreement with Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), allowing MWD to store imported water — from the California Aqueduct and the Colorado River — in the Orange County groundwater basin.

By doing so, MWD will have another backup source of water in Southern California during dry years, and OCWD will be able to provide better quality water to recharge the groundwater basin serving cities in north and central Orange County. The agreement, which should be finalized by summer 2002, allows MWD to store up to 60,000 acre-feet of water in Orange County's groundwater basin. When MWD needs the water, it can extract up to 20,000 acre-feet per year.

As part of the agreement, MWD will pay approximately $26.5 million for the following facilities:

* $11 million for eight extraction wells that can be used by city water departments when not needed by MWD;

* $12 million for eight new seawater barrier injection wells and necessary piping;

* $3.5 million to construct a bypass pipeline, near Yorba Linda, Calif., to directly provide higher quality northern California replenishment water to OCWD; and,

* An $80,000 annual fee to OCWD, which will escalate over time.

"I am pleased to announce OCWD has successfully completed negotiations with Metropolitan Water District for this long-term storage program," said Jerry A. King, OCWD board president. "The program is a significant step forward in further improving the water reliability and quality in Orange County and the services provided to our producers."

The storage program provides additional benefits to the cities in the OCWD service area, allowing the cities to use the new wells as backup to their current systems in an emergency situation. In addition, the wells will become the property of the city when the agreement expires in 25 years.

MWD received $45 million from the Department of Water Resources for implementing storage programs from Proposition 13 funds. In March 2001, MWD selected Orange County Water District's proposed storage plan, along with eight other California water districts' proposed groundwater storage programs.

The OCWD program must still be reviewed and approved by both agencies' boards in the form of a final agreement. Currently, both parties have agreed upon the principles of the agreement only.

Orange County Water District is a state 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% of the water needs in Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Irvine, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Orange, Placentia, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster, and Yorba Linda. To learn more about water in Orange County, log on to

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