Orange County Water Users Could Benefit, if Mother Nature Cooperates
A new, temporary water conservation agreement between Orange County Water District (OCWD) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) was recently put into place just in time for the upcoming winter rainy season. The temporary agreement could allow OCWD to capture up to 1.6 billion gallons of additional stormwater that could be stored behind Prado Dam until March 1, 2004. The water would eventually be released and percolated into the Orange County groundwater basin downstream.
"This temporary agreement could not come at a more crucial time, when any additional local water supplies are urgently needed in Orange County to refill our groundwater basin," said OCWD Board President Denis R. Bilodeau. "If Mother Nature cooperates and provides some rain, it will be a win-win situation for taxpayers who will benefit from flood protection and new
The temporary agreement increases the water storage capacity behind the Dam in the upcoming winter months by about 50 percent over OCWD's current winter storage capacity agreement. OCWD will be able to capture 13,500 acre-feet of water instead of the previous amount of 8,600 acre-feet. That equates to about 1.6 billion gallons, or enough water to serve 9,800 families for one year.
A drought on the Colorado River and Santa Ana River and continued high groundwater use has led to an overdrafted local groundwater basin.
OCWD hopes to make this temporary agreement permanent in the future, and is working with the Corps on the details of the plan. OCWD hopes to be allowed to better utilize an existing federal flood control and water conservation facility to keep more precious rainwater from being wasted to the ocean.