Lawrence D. Fay
Director, Environmental Health Services, Santa Barbara County


Denis Bilodeau, P.E.
Director, Orange County Water District

Denis Bilodeau has served four consecutive terms as a director of the Orange County Water District (OCWD). He currently serves as OCWD president. OCWD provides reliable, high-quality groundwater to 2.4 million consumers in north and central Orange County. Elected to the board in 2000, Denis led OCWD through the construction and implementation of the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS)—the world’s largest indirect potable reuse project. The GWRS purifies 100 million gallons a day of treated wastewater to drinking water standards. It will expand in 2023 to 130 million gallons a day—enough to meet the needs of 1 million people.

Collaboration on the Groundwater Replenishment System—the world’s largest advanced water purification project of its kind
The Orange County Water District (OCWD) in Southern California needed to expand Water Factory 21, the world’s largest reverse osmosis plant, which injected water into a barrier to protect the local groundwater basin from seawater contamination. At the same time, a growing population in the region meant the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) would need to build an additional ocean outfall at a very high cost. Their resulting collaboration—the Groundwater Replenishment system (GWRS)—the world’s largest advanced water purification system for potable reuse—manufactures 100 million gallons per day of near-distilled
quality water. Some of this water is injected into the seawater barrier and the remainder is sent to recharge basins where it percolates into the vast Orange County Groundwater Basin, which satisfies 75 percent of the water needs for 2.4 million people. The reuse of wastewater prevents the need for the construction of a
second sanitation outfall. Wastewater, after being subjected to primary and secondary treatment at OCSD’s nearby reclamation plant, is delivered to OCWD for a three-step advanced treatment. The GWRS is celebrated for its 21st century technology and serves as the model for similar water reuse projects all over the world. The collaboration of these two agencies continues in efforts to educate the public to overcome negative stigma so that even more water reuse projects will be built to provide new sources of water nationally and across the world.

Ryan Drake
Water Supply and Conservation Manager, Goleta Water District

Ryan Drake is the Water Supply and Conservation Manager for the Goleta Water District, and has served in this role for the past three years. Ryan is responsible for the District’s long-term water supply and demand planning, water rights, as well the District’s water supply agreements and permits. The Water supply and Conservation department works closely with Operations and Engineering to implement the District’s water supply management strategies, guided by the District’s Water Supply Management Plan, Groundwater Management Plan, and other strategic documents. Ryan manages the new water services division, with a focus on establishing relationships with new customers through the water service application process. He also oversees administration of the District’s water conservation programs. Prior to his current position, Ryan was in private practice as a water rights attorney, specializing in water rights transactions, groundwater adjudications, permitting, and water transfers in California and the West.

Stormwater Capture Efforts: Rethinking a Local Resource
Goleta Water District customers excel at making every drop count. The drought and recent Whittier Fire has reminded the community how fragile Lake Cachuma and the State Water Project are and how long term sustainability requires vigilance to protect and develop local water sources. Recognizing the potential of stormwater to provide for additional water supplies, and help recharge and sustain the Goleta Groundwater Basin, the District has developed a Stormwater Resources Plan (SRP). The plan identifies potential stormwater capture projects, including infiltration basins, capture and reuse projects, and dry wells. The focus of the plan is on multi-benefit projects, looking to water supply benefits, water quality benefits, and flood control benefits. The presentation focuses on the opportunities and challenges in Goleta for implementing large-scale stormwater capture projects, and how such projects could integrate within the District’s current water supply portfolio.

Deborah Weinstein Bloome
Senior Director of Policy, TreePeople