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Posted on: November 7, 2018

Stage 3 Water Shortage Conditions Still in Effect

For Immediate Release

November 7, 2018

Contact: Melanie Mow Schumacher, Special Projects-Communications Manager
Phone:  831-475-8501 x153

Soquel Creek Water District Reminds Customers: Stage 3 Water Shortage Conditions Still in Effect

District Implementing Projects to Address Water Shortage

Soquel, CA (November 7, 2018) – The Soquel Creek Water District is reminding its water customers that the local groundwater supply remains critically over-drafted, and the Stage 3 water use constraints remain in place. The District has been in a Stage 3 Water Shortage and Groundwater Emergency condition since 2014 due to the long-term groundwater supply shortage and seawater intrusion occurring at the coast. Maintaining the Stage 3 condition means that water-use restrictions and requirements for the District's water customers are still in place.

While the community has been successful in its water-saving efforts (a remarkable 24% reduction in water use last year over 2013 levels), the serious water shortage continues due to historical over-pumping, and the threat of seawater contamination into our drinking water wells. These conditions pose a serious, ongoing concern to the local groundwater supply- the community's sole source of water. In April of this year, the District's Board of Directors approved a continuation of Stage 3 as a means of continuing to protect the groundwater supply while the District develops new water sources. Stage 3 restrictions will remain in place until rescinded by the Board.

The District's conservation goal is to continue to collectively use 25% less water than the 2013 baseline. To achieve this goal, the District suggests an annual average water use guideline of 50 gallons per person, per day. Enforcement of the District's water waste ordinance continues, which is in effect year-round regardless of water supply shortage declarations. Other continued Stage 3 measures include:

  • Stage 3 Emergency water rates continued from the 2017 Stage 3 declaration
  • Car Washing Restriction: Use of a recycled water car wash is preferred; however, vehicles may be washed at home if done efficiently: use of a waterless spray, a bucket and hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle, and/or a pressure washer. All methods should minimize water running off of the property.
  • Exterior Structure Washing Restriction: No exterior washing of structures unless for sanitation and health purposes, or if preparing to paint or stain and a pressure washer is used.
  • Save Water Signage Requirement: Businesses and institutions must display provided signage encouraging conservation and reporting of water waste.

Community members are encouraged to view our Water Conservation page for more information, tips, and techniques to save water under Stage 3 conditions.

While the community does its part to conserve water, the District is conducting two pilot projects this winter to further evaluate two long-term water supply options. The first one is implementation of a Surface Water Transfer Pilot Project, where the District will purchase a small amount of treated surface water from the City of Santa Cruz to serve in a limited area of the District. The District will evaluate the blending of surface water into our infrastructure.

The second pilot project involves the construction of a Seawater Intrusion Prevention and Recharge Well- a 1,000-foot deep well to be located at the Twin Lakes Church campus funded through California Prop 1 grants. This will provide the District with important data about recharge and extraction rates related to replenishing the groundwater supply via a future recharge well at that location. This will also provide for the collection of soil and groundwater samples for analysis of the aquifer's condition. Detailed information about the pilot Seawater Intrusion Prevention and Recharge Well is available online.

The District continues to explore Pure Water Soquel, a proposed project which would take treated wastewater from Santa Cruz, put it through a state-of-the-art advanced water purification process, and then use that clean water to replenish the aquifer. This project will be similar to what Orange County has been doing since 1975 and others such as Monterey and San Diego are currently implementing.

All of these actions are aimed at helping to ensure a healthy, sustainable, and reliable groundwater supply for the communities served by the District.

 About Soquel Creek Water District

The Soquel Creek Water District is a nonprofit, local government agency that provides water resource management within its service area to deliver a safe and reliable supply of high-quality water to meet present and future needs in an environmentally sensitive and economically responsible way.

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