July 30, 2014

The Orange County Water District (OCWD) was recognized on June 2 as the sixth recipient of the prestigious international award Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize in Singapore during the Singapore International Water Week (SIWW).  The OCWD was recognized for its pioneering work in groundwater management and water reclamation using advanced water reuse technologies, as well as its achievements in public policy and community outreach.  The Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize honors outstanding contributions by individuals or organizations towards solving the world’s water problems by applying innovative technologies or implementing policies and programs that benefit humanity.

The 2014 Prize was presented to OCWD during an awards ceremony hosted in conjunction with SIWW, the World Cities Summit and Clean-Enviro Summit Singapore.  OCWD 1st Vice President Cathy Green accepted the award on behalf of OCWD and delivered the 6th Singapore Water Lecture about the District and its notable projects. Director Green is the first woman to give this distinguished lecture.

As the Lee Kuan Yew Prize recipient, OCWD received 300,000 Singapore dollars ($238,000 U.S. dollars), a certificate and a gold medallion.  OCWD plans to invest this money to develop an applied water research fellowship.  The recognition embodies OCWD’s implementation of world renowned projects such as Water Factory 21, the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS), its groundwater management program, and the public outreach and support programs that paved the way for these projects and continues to pave the way.

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From L to R: Managing Director of Singapore International Water Week, Maurice Neo; Chief Executive of PUB, Chew Men Leong; AAWRE Treasurer and OCWD General Manager, Michael Markus; Chief Technology Officer of PUB, Harry Seah.

OCWD President Shawn Dewane stated:

This is a tremendous achievement for OCWD; we are proud to serve as a global leader in the water industry and to provide a roadmap that helps communities achieve water reliability. We will continue to push forward and utilize science and technology to inspire innovation in water treatment and reuse worldwide.

Michael Markus, P.E., BCEE, D.WRE, F.ASCE, General Manager of OCWD and AAWRE Trustee remarked:

"The District is truly honored on having been bestowed this prestigious global award. The District is proud of its history of groundwater management and its building such significant recycled water facilities as Water Factory 21 and the Groundwater Replenishment System."

In 1976, OCWD established itself as the pioneer in water reuse and groundwater management when it went on-line with Water Factory 21, the first facility in the world to successfully demonstrate that potable-grade quality recycled water can be reliably produced from treated used water effluent through an advanced water purification system.  Since then, based on research and demonstration efforts by OCWD, a three-stage advanced treatment process of microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light with hydrogen peroxide has been established as the standard for potable water reuse in the industry.  This industry standard is otherwise known as the Groundwater Replenishment System: the world’s largest advanced water purification system for potable reuse.

Operational since January 2008, the GWRS produces up to 70 million gallons of high quality water every day, or enough water to meet the needs of nearly 600,000 residents in north and central Orange County, California. It is one of the most celebrated civil engineering and water reuse projects and serves as a blueprint for water agencies around the globe to help solve their local water supply issues. It has been replicated in the states of Texas and Colorado, and in the countries of Australia and Singapore, benefitting millions in the process.  OCWD is currently expanding the GWRS to produce an additional 30 million gallons per day.  This will enable the production of 100 million gallons of water per day and will be complete in early 2015.

Each year, Singapore International Water Week calls for nominations for the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize.  Qualified parties, such as leaders of international water companies and water utilities, top academics in water research, policy and management, heads of international organisations, members of government, or distinguished individuals in the water field are welcome to submit nominations.

For more information about the Lee Kuan Yew Water Prize and SIWW, http://www.siww.com.sg/lee-kuan-yew-water-prize

For more information about OCWD, please visit www.ocwd.com