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Water Wisdom

Posted on: June 1, 2022

Pure Water Soquel Construction Update: The Future of Water is Being Built Now! - June 2022

Pure Water Soquel Construction Update: The Future of Water is Being Built Now!

Construction is underway on the Pure Water Soquel Groundwater Replenishment and Seawater Intrusion Prevention Project—and every day of work brings the community one step closer to a drought-proof, sustainable water supply.

Pure Water Soquel will put recycled water through multiple, rigorous, proven treatment processes, purifying it to drinking water standards. That purified water will then be used to replenish the overdrafted Santa Cruz Mid-County Basin, raising the level of the groundwater to create a barrier against further seawater contamination of the water supply, and providing a significant, sustainable supplemental source of water. This basin is the District’s sole source of water for its customers and is also used by the City of Santa Cruz, Central Water District, other small mutual water pumpers, and thousands of private well owners.  

The key components being built as part of Pure Water Soquel are: three Seawater Intrusion Prevention (SWIP) wells; treatment facilities at two locations, and a conveyance pipeline system to transport water between the treatment facilities and SWIP wells. Additionally, the project includes the construction of nine new monitoring wells at various locations, to expand and enhance the District’s ability to carefully observe and analyze groundwater levels and water quality.


Earlier this year, a major milestone was reached when the third and final SWIP well was drilled.   These three wells, ranging from approximately 510 to 870 feet deep, are where the purified recycled water will be stored underground to replenish the overdrafted groundwater basin.


At the Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility (SCWWTF), wastewater currently goes through treatment to make it suitable for disposal into the ocean. New facilities being built there will take 25% of the water being discharged into the Monterey National Marine Sanctuary and will recycle it for beneficial reuse. Construction of the new facilities at SCWWTF started in late 2021. To date, work has included concrete slab foundations, trenching, and pipeline installation.

The centerpiece of Pure Water Soquel is the new Advanced Water Purification Center, where the water will be purified to drinking water standards. Located at the corner of Chanticleer Avenue and Soquel Avenue in the Live Oak area, construction of this facility got underway in December 2021 and is expected to be completed by late 2023. At this new facility, a state-of-the-art, multi-step advanced water purification process—including pre-treatment, microfiltration, reverse osmosis, and ultraviolet light with advanced oxidation—will produce ultra-clean, purified water. Work taking place this spring includes concrete slab foundations and trenching for underground utilities and piping.


In May 2021 construction began on eight miles of pipeline that are being installed under numerous streets from the SCWWTF to the Advanced Water Purification Center, and then to the three SWIP wells in Capitola and Aptos. So far,  four miles of pipeline have been installed on various streets in Santa Cruz, Soquel, Aptos, and unincorporated Santa Cruz County. This work—expected to continue through 2022—is being done with multiple crews in multiple sites, so construction may be seen in several locations. The construction of the conveyance work is the most visible and potentially impactful to the public — motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists are advised to use extra caution when in the vicinity of pipeline construction. 

We apologize for any temporary inconvenience as we build for the future of our water supply. The future of our water supply and sustainability of the Santa Cruz Mid-County basin is getting closer and closer! For more details about these and to

her District construction projects, please visit

PWS pipeline

Purified water pipeline being installed on Cabrillo College drive heading to the twin lakes seawater intrusion prevention well.

monitoring well

Monitoring well that was drilled in the center left-hand turn lane on Park Avenue in Aptos. 


Earthwork and excavation for underground utilities and site preparation at the Advanced Water Purification Center located on Chanticleer Ave.

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