California Water Management Facilities Top International Tourists' Must-See List

People's Republic of China Officials to Visit Sites June 17, Morocco Delegation to Tour June 18 Media Invited to Attend

Each year, millions of tourists from around the world flock to Los Angeles to see Hollywood Boulevard, Rodeo Drive and Disneyland. But on June 17-18, visitors from the People's Republic of China and Morocco are coming to see two other Southern California landmarks that are internationally-renowned but usually taken for granted locally: a Long Beach water treatment facility and the San Gabriel River spreading grounds in Pico Rivera.

Both facilities are utilized by the Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD), the agency protecting groundwater supply and quality for nearly four million residents in southern Los Angeles County. And just like L.A.'s fashions, food and slang, people from across the nation and around the world follow -- and imitate -- our region's innovative ways of maintaining and securing its limited groundwater.

The public works officials from China (visiting June 17) and Morocco (June 18) also face homeland issues of water supply and safety and were interested in seeing first-hand what the global water management community has recognized as pioneering projects under the WRD auspices. These two groups are the latest in a series of regular visitors, including public works leadership from India and Australia, who are seeking information on two of the WRD's cornerstone programs:

-- Recently constructed by the WRD, the Leo J. Vander Lans Water Treatment Facility in Long Beach will be operated for the WRD by the Long Beach Water Department. The technology it uses to clean recycled water -- incorporating microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light -- has been praised as state-of-the-art by the water industry. It produces about 2.7 million gallons of water daily.

-- The WRD's groundwater basins are replenished by large ponds of water called spreading grounds. These spreading grounds, Rio Hondo and San Gabriel Rivera, are owned and operated by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, with the WRD responsible for replenishment and protection.

"Southern Californians might not think twice about these high-tech structures when they see them, but we're thrilled that both these facilities are successfully and consistently providing safe water to our communities while also serving as models of progressive water management to the world," noted WRD General Manager Robb Whitaker.

Both days' tours will take place between 9 a.m. - 12 Noon and will be led by WRD chief hydrogeologist Ted Johnson. A registered geologist with nearly 20 years' experience, Johnson is responsible for the Basin Management and Water Quality Departments, focusing on water replenishment needs, water quality, seawater intrusion, groundwater levels, computer modeling and conjunctive use opportunities.

Water Replenishment District of Southern California

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