Santa Cruz Water Profile
Having not updated the majority of Santa Cruz water sources since 1972, the Chamber understands the pressing issue of water in our community. In regards to greater economic growth in the Santa Cruz Region, water is one of the most important constraints.
In October 2013, the City Council directed staff to develop a plan to engage the community in an examination of water supply issues. From this direction, the Water Supply Advisory Committee (WSAC) was born. The members on the committee represents broad community interests including the environment, business, education and the water commission.
Thanks to the hard work of WSAC, the county and the continuing dedication of Santa Cruz residents, the city has been outlined as a pioneer of water saving policies. In 2015, our hard work was applauded by the NBC Bay Area network and Santa Cruz has been dubbed a leading example for the California community in the wake of perpetual drought.
Click the thumbnails below for some more information about water in Santa Cruz County.
Sources include WSAC, KPCC and the Pacific Institute
WSAC Recommendations and Next Steps for Water Conservation in Santa Cruz County
Conservation-- In addition to the existing conservation programs such as home and business evaluations, water saving rebates, water budgets for large landscapes and free water-saving devices, the WSAC recommends looking at new programs, such as increased rebates and better management of peak season demand. The goal of additional programs is to further reduce demand by 200 to 250 million gallons per year by 2035, with a particular focus on producing savings during teh peak season.
Strategy One -- Groundwater Storage/In Lieu Water Exchanges and Aquifer Stroage and Recovery (ASR) -- In normal years, the Santa Cruz Water Department (SCWD) receives more rainfall than is needed to meet customer demand or can be stored in Loch Lomond Reservoir. Using In-Lieu water exchanges, available winter flows would be delivered to Soquel Creek Water District (SqCWD) and/or Scotts Valley Water District (SVWD) customers, thus allowing reduced pumping from these regional aquifers and enabling the aquifer to passively rest and recharge. Using ASR, available winter flows would be injected into aquifers through new and existing wells owned by the SCWD, SVWD and/or SqCWD, thereby actively rechargin aquifers. A portion of the water delivered using In-Lieu or ASR would be effectively banned in the aquifers to be extracted and returned to SCWD when needed in future dry years.
Strategy Two -- Advanced Treated Recycled Water or Desalinated Water would be developed as a supplemental supply in the event the groundwater storage strategies described above prove insufficient to meet the plan's goals of cost-effectiveness, timeliness or yield. If it is determined that recycled water cannot meet our needs, then desalinated seawater would be pursued.
Next Steps -- The WSAC will present its Agreements and Recommendations to the City Council during the Council's October 27 meeting. The Council will receive the report but will not take action at that time. On November 10, the Council and the City's Water Commission will hold a joint study session and take public comment. The City Council is expected to take action on the recommendations during its November 24 meeting.