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Posted on: September 27, 2023

Reclamation awards Soquel Creek Water District $30 million

Reclamation awards Soquel Creek Water District $30 million through President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to Advance Groundwater Replenishment

California coastal project uses water reuse to replenish over-drafted groundwater basin

Bureau of Reclamation, 9/27/2023


Media Contact: Mary Lee Knecht 916-978-5100
Melanie Mow Schumacher 831-239-7960

Soquel group photoSANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Reclamation has awarded the Soquel Creek Water District $30 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to advance the Pure Water Soquel Groundwater Replenishment and Seawater Intrusion Prevention Project. The funding will help offset the total cost of the project, which is providing a cost-effective and efficient means of creating a sustainable alternative water supply to address the critically over-drafted Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Basin and preventing further seawater intrusion.    

President Biden’s Investing in America agenda represents the largest investment in climate resilience in the nation’s history and is providing much-needed resources to enhance Western communities’ resilience to drought and climate change. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Reclamation is investing a total of $8.3 billion over five years for water infrastructure projects, including water purification and reuse, water storage and conveyance, desalination, and dam safety.   

In August 2022, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton announced the allocation of $309.8 million in funding from the Investing in America agenda for the planning, design and construction of water reuse projects across the country. Approximately $20.9 million from this agreement comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, with the remaining funding from the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. 

The announcement comes on the heels of a visit from Reclamation leadership to Sacramento, California this morning. Senior Advisor to the Commissioner Roque Sanchez joined California-Great Basin Regional Director Ernest Conant to meet with District management and tour the Purification Center.    

“We are very pleased to make this investment through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda for this important project for the Santa Cruz area to help protect their water supply in a changing climate,” said Reclamation Senior Advisor Roque Sanchez.  

“The water district, which serves 40,000 Californians, like many other Central Coast communities is entirely dependent on groundwater,” added Reclamation Regional Director Ernest Conant added. “Providing a reliable water supply for these communities is critical.”

"Many people rely on the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Basin. However, due to our persistent demand and our inconsistent weather patterns, that water source can become over-drafted, potentially resulting in water shortages, seawater intrusion, and contamination,” said Congressman Panetta. “That’s why this major investment by the federal government in the Pure Water Soquel Groundwater Replenishment and Seawater Intrusion Prevention Project is so significant for our community’s efforts to recycle, purify, and ultimately replenish our water supply. I’m proud of our bipartisan work in Congress to invest in these types of transformative projects to deal with local water and drought challenge and work towards a more resilient and sustainable future.” 

Pure Water Soquel will take treated, recycled municipal wastewater and use advanced water treatment methods to produce up to 1,500 acre-feet of purified water annually. The purified water will then be sent to seawater intrusion prevention/recharge wells to replenish the critically over-drafted Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Basin, which is one of 21 basins in California that have been mandated to be brought into sustainability by 2040.

“This award from the Bureau of Reclamation is a significant show of support for the Pure Water Soquel project,” said Carla Christensen, President of the District’s Board of Directors. “We are extremely grateful for this $30 million grant, which is a tremendous boost to our local water reuse efforts. This project will prevent seawater intrusion, recharge our groundwater basin and provide our region with a drought-resilient, clean, and sustainable water supply.”

Learn more about Pure Water Soquel at

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