Denis Bilodeau is an elected director of the Orange County Water District and represents Orange, Villa Park, Tustin and North Tustin.

The following activities are prohibited:

Watering of landscaping between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Watering of landscaping more than 15 minutes per day per station. Five minutes per station twice a week is plenty.

Washing down hard or paved surfaces such as driveways, streets, and sidewalks. Use a broom!  

Watering in a manner that causes or allows excessive runoff onto driveways, streets, sidewalks.

Using water to wash a vehicle, except by hand-held bucket or hand-held hose equipped with positive self-closing water shut-off nozzle.

By Denis Bilodeau

We are in the fourth year of drought in California, and it is the driest four-year period on record. The Brown administration has implemented measures that require all of us to cut back our water use.  If you are serviced by the Irvine Ranch Water District, the call is to cut back by 16 percent; City of Orange, 28 percent; Serrano Water District, East Orange County Water District, and Golden State Water 36 percent.  Why such a disparity in the percentages?  It is based on a per person goal of using 75 gallons per day.  That benchmark was set, based on usage back in July, August and September of 2014.

Despite the doom and gloom, north and central Orange County are faring much better than most of the state.

Over a three-year period, the Orange County Water District (OCWD) Board, which is entrusted to manage our groundwater basin, has spent $79.3 million purchasing imported water to replenish the basin and offset major impacts of the drought. OCWD also recently invested $142 million to expand the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS).  By June of 2015 it will be producing 100 million gallons of water each day—enough to satisfy the water needs of 850,000 people.  This constitutes about 25 percent of our water portfolio.  

The GWRS is the largest indirect potable reuse facility in the world. It takes treated wastewater that otherwise would go to the Pacific Ocean, and purifies it to near-distilled quality and recharges it into the Orange County groundwater basin. A good amount also goes into a coastal seawater barrier that keeps ocean water from contaminating our fresh water.

Groundwater levels in the basin are very low right now, and are about 80 percent depleted, but it is still within the normal historic operating range due to careful planning and the GWRS. 

What can you do?

It is important that all of us cut back on water usage now.  Although this drought cycle will eventually end, we cannot predict when the rains will come.

There are rebates available to replace your lawn, add a rain barrel to your rain gutter, or replace your irrigation controller with the latest technology.  Information on these programs can be found at

Our Call to Conserve Water