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The Orange County Water District (OCWD) has been awarded its fifth designation as a Groundwater Guardian Community.
This designation is awarded to entities who develop and implement successful projects that benefit groundwater. Groundwater Guardian designation is earned by a community when progress is made toward the implementation of groundwater-related activities and accomplishment of goals.
Groundwater protection is an ongoing process, and communities re-enter for designation each year as they continue to build on previous successes. OCWD's Groundwater Guardian Team was presented their award by The Groundwater Foundation during the Foundation's Annual Conference held in Pittsburgh in November.
"Earning the designation for five years in a row is a direct result of the OCWD Groundwater Guardian Team's hard work," stated Phil Anthony, OCWD board member. "Activities such as the annual Children's Water Education Festival held last spring, mirror the goals of the Groundwater Foundation."
The OCWD Groundwater Guardian Team won the designation for a number of activities it planned and conducted in support of protecting Orange County's groundwater basin, including:
-- A two-day Children's Water Education Festival, which featured hands-on activities designed to teach third- and fourth-grade students about the interdependence of water, soil, plants, trees, animals and humans. In 2001, the event drew more than 6,400 students from throughout Orange County.
-- A Festival Computer Program, which will streamline the planning and implementing of the Children's Water Education Festival scheduling. This program will be used throughout the country, helping festival teams use technology to more efficiently organize the scheduling of the classes and booths they'll visit throughout their day at the festival. Currently this is a very time-consuming, manual entry process.
-- Involvement in the watershed education exhibit at Santiago Oaks Regional Park in Orange, Calif. The team is working with several other local agencies to develop a model interactive watershed ecosystem education center.
-- Development of a year-long interactive presentation at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, Calif., educating visitors about water and oil and why the two don't "mix." Oil can be recycled and should be disposed of correctly to avoid water contamination.
-- Establishing an MTBE (Methyl-tertiary-butyl-ether) committee to initiate public outreach about the gasoline additive that is contaminating groundwater supplies in Southern California.
The Groundwater Guardian program encourages communities to begin groundwater awareness and protection activities, supports the communities in their efforts, then recognizes their achievements. Communities can represent a number of diverse settings including rural areas, large incorporated cities, Indian reservations and water basins in the United States and Canada. These teams then develop Result Oriented Activities to address the community's groundwater protection concerns.
The OCWD Groundwater Guardian Team was formed in 1997 under the direction of Phil Anthony, an OCWD board member since 1981. The team has approximately 20 members representing business, education, local citizens, water utilities and other local agencies. Anyone interested in joining can call Sharon Lien at 714/378-3362.
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 www.ocwd.com.