OCWD was created in 1933 by an act of the California Legislature when Orange County was known more for agriculture than as a business and industrial hub.
At that time, it is estimated that Orange County’s groundwater basin provided about 145,000 acre-feet (179 million cubic meters) of water a year, of which 87 percent was used for agriculture. Today, annual water usage has increased to 350,000 acre-feet (432 million cubic meters) a year, but less than two percent is used for agriculture. The groundwater basin has been able to meet this tremendous increase in water demand because of OCWD’s prudent investment in capital facilities and innovative groundwater management programs.
OCWD’s record is a testament to its commitment to provide Orange County with a reliable supply of high quality water at the lowest reasonable cost in an environmentally responsible manner. Its board of directors and staff take great pride in the fact that OCWD is recognized worldwide for its leadership and innovation in groundwater management, and for projects like the Groundwater Replenishment System and its predecessor Water Factory 21. That leadership will prove important to Orange County as the demand increases statewide for water resources, capital funding and water rights.