News Flash

Water Wisdom

Posted on: July 1, 2022

Staying On Track: District’s Strategic Plan Updated - July 2022

Early this year, the District initiated an update of its Strategic Plan, which consists of the District’s Mission Statement, Values, and Primary Organizational Goals. These are the guiding documents that help assure we maintain a path that aligns with our customers and community and that we’re most effectively allocating resources to accomplish the desired goals, keeping in mind that financial resources are limited. 

On May 17, 2022, following a significant information gathering and analysis process, staff input, community surveys, interested party interviews, and Board member discussion and priority setting, the Board adopted the updated Strategic Plan. The planning horizon of this update is three years, which will encompass the Pure Water Soquel Project being operational, help inform the District’s annual budgets, and the next rate-setting process. With the updated Strategic Plan, staff will adjust, as needed, the District’s strategies, guiding principles, Community Water Plan, and staff-level implementation plans.

This Plan is more than a document; it is a continual and dynamic process that guides not only the District’s overall direction but also the departmental implementation plans and in turn, the day-to-day efforts of the District as we work to accomplish our goals.

What does this Plan mean to our customers and community? It means that you can be assured we are continually working on analyzing, understanding, and addressing the complexities of the many internal and external factors and influences which affect how we provide services to you. Our Strategic Plan is an essential, valuable tool for both short and long-term planning. It helps us stay on track with the evolving needs of our community and changing circumstances, ensuring we can effectively and efficiently provide water not just for today but water for tomorrow and for the decades to come.

A critical component of our strategic planning process is the environmental scan. The word ‘environment’ doesn’t mean nature; rather it refers to taking an  objective review of the holistic environment in which we operate - examining the present and future factors that might affect the organization and our services to you. It helps us understand the broader context in which we’re operating and the factors that will influence the direction and goals of the District.

Our environmental scan included a review and analysis of these key factors (each is followed by a brief summary of the analysis):

  • Current Basin Status – the basin remains significantly unsustainable.
  • Projected Water Demand and Land-Use Planning – the water supply is short by about one-third of the amount needed to meet current and future demand; forecasted new development may be underestimated.
  • Climate Change – already high risk and impact, and getting worse; significantly impacts groundwater recharge and surface water.
  • District Finances – finances are okay at present due to significant State and Federal funding; yet, there are ongoing challenges of capital construction/replacement programs due to aging infrastructure, increased operating costs, and changing regulations (of concern to all water agencies); there are State and Federal funding opportunities on the horizon.
  •  District Evolving – Automated Metering Infrastructure implemented; the District will be putting water into the ground, not just taking it out; with Pure Water Soquel the basin will be sustainable for the first time in over 40 years; Mid-County Groundwater Association is an example of regionalization, collaboration.
  • Other Local Water Agencies Status – efforts of Santa Cruz Water Department, Scotts Valley Water District, and others trying to obtain sustainability and efficiencies; potential for purified water as part of portfolio.

In addition to the environmental scan, a substantial amount of external and internal direct input was received. This input gives us insight into identifying what components of the Strategic Plan may need updating and how they should be modified. Input processes included:

  • The District’s 2020 Community Survey of over 400 customers. 
  • Personal interviews of customers, community leaders, Board and standing committee members, representatives from public agencies, environmental non-profits, education, developers, and businesses, offering a broad range of perspectives about current and future challenges and opportunities. 
  • A staff survey and departmental workshops helping us better to understand staff perspectives, values, and goals. 

The Board approved several changes to the District’s Values and Organizational Goals, while maintaining the wording of the District’s Mission statement. These improvements represent the current state of the environment in which the District operates, the community’s perspectives on the District and the future of water in our region, and the issues, challenges, and concerns that may be facing the District in the coming years.

You are encouraged to read the District’s Mission, and the updated versions of its Values and Goals, at soquelcreekwater.org/mission. This Strategic Plan will carry us forward, to the next phase of our evolving Soquel Creek Water District.

Shown below are the District’s Mission Statement and updated Values and Organizational Goals.

Our Mission: 

We are a public agency dedicated to providing a safe, high-quality, reliable, and sustainable water supply to meet our community’s present and future needs in an environmentally sensitive and economically responsible manner.

Our Values:

ValueCore Value Question
Fairness, Honesty, Ethics, Inclusivity, Transparency, & Consistency

Does the decision/action treat all concerned fairly, honestly, and ethically? 

Does decision/action reflect inclusivity, transparency, and consistency?

Quality Customer ServiceDoes the decision/action reflect respectful, responsive, and empowering customer service?
Holistic Environmental StewardshipDoes the decision/action consider the impact to the environment holistically, including groundwater, surface water, biota, climate change, etc.?
Sustainability, Resiliency & Long‐Term ThinkingDoes the decision/action display long‐term thinking regarding sustainability and resiliency in all aspects (ranging from the environment, infrastructure to finance)?
Community, Relationships & CollaborationDoes the decision/action promote collaboration and enhance relationships with others?
Commitment & DedicationDoes the decision/action show commitment and dedication to support to the mission of the District and recognize the value of water as a precious resource?


Our Primary Organizational Goals:

  1. Water Resource Management and Sustainability - Implement sustainable solutions with regional partners to meet the long-term water supply needs of our customers, community, and environment.
  2. Infrastructure and Delivery - Maintain a reliable and resilient water infrastructure and ensure delivery of high‐quality, safe water.
  3. Community Engagement and Trust - Continue to build upon our relationships and communication with our customers, interested parties, and the community to further increase trust in our agency.
  4. Fiscal Responsibility - Ensure long‐term fiscal responsibility and proactive fiscal management.
  5. Customer Service - Provide respectful, responsive, and empowering customer service.
  6. Workforce and Organizational Excellence - Maximize appropriate training and growth opportunities, and support strong and knowledgeable board governance



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