For Immediate Release
Date: October 5, 2022
Melanie Mow Schumacher, Special Projects-Communications Manager
Pure Water Soquel Receives $26.5 Million in Additional State Funding
State Investment Reinforces Environmental Stewardship and Protection of Local Groundwater Supply
On October 3, 2022, the California State Water Resources Control Board awarded additional Proposition 1 funds to Soquel Creek Water District, which included both a $13.25 million grant and a $13.25 million low-interest (1.6%) loan. These funds will go toward construction of Pure Water Soquel, a project to replenish the overdrafted groundwater basin, prevent continued seawater contamination of that water supply, and provide a safe, high-quality, sustainable, and drought-proof water supply for current and future generations in the Santa Cruz Mid-County region.
“We’re working hard to protect and replenish this community’s water supply, and it continues to be a truly amazing journey.” said District Board President Dr. Tom LaHue. “This grant award is an example of the continued support we have with the State to ensure that our local water supply can remain reliable and affordable to our ratepayers and accessible to the community-at-large that relies on groundwater as our sole source of water supply.”
The District’s Pure Water Soquel Project was previously awarded $52 million in state grants through CA Prop 1 Groundwater program and $30 million in grants through the US Bureau of Reclamation’s Title XVI WaterSMART Program. In addition to grants, the District has also been fortunate in securing low-interest loans from the CA Seawater Intrusion Control Program and the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Program.
“We are so grateful that our State and Federal partners have recognized the dire water situation which all of us face here in the mid-county region and that they’ve backed that understanding with financial support” noted District General Manager Ron Duncan. “The District has obtained sufficient funding from key State and Federal water/environmental agencies to cover the entire cost of the Pure Water Project. We are honored to have achieved this milestone that significantly benefits all our customers. We can look forward to the Pure Water Soquel Project making our groundwater basin sustainable for generations to come.”
The Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Basin (Basin) is also used by the City of Santa Cruz, Central Water District, other small mutual agencies, and over a thousand private well owners. The State has designated this basin as critically overdrafted, resulting in a reduced water supply and confirmed seawater contamination of the basin at the coastline.
Pure Water Soquel will recycle 25% of the treated wastewater effluent from the Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility, which is currently discharged into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and put it through an advanced purification process. After construction is complete in 2024, up to 1.3 million gallons per day of purified water from the Pure Water Soquel Project will replenish the groundwater basin to supplement the water supply and create a freshwater barrier against further seawater contamination.
The goals of the Pure Water Soquel Project correspond directly to the purpose of the Proposition 1 Groundwater Funding Program: to prevent or clean up contamination of groundwater that serves or has served as a source of drinking water. Through the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, the State also mandates that critically overdrafted basins, such as ours, be brought back into sustainability by 2040. This is precisely what Pure Water Soquel is intended to do and, as such, is one of the primary projects identified in the adopted Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Sustainability Plan.
About the Soquel Creek Water District
The Soquel Creek Water District is a not-for-profit 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. The District’s website is www.soquelcreekwater.org.