Pure Water Soquel will help ensure that day never comes, with over $100 million in funding from the State Water Board and EPA which cover the cost of the project.
Imagine a Day Without Water on October 21 is an annual nationwide day of education and advocacy about the value of water, and how all of us depend on water every single day. It also highlights the services provided by water suppliers and wastewater collection/treatment facilities.
Imagine we can see into the future, and our community is without a reliable water supply. Seawater has continued its imminent advance into our over-drafted groundwater basin, making the water unusable. That means the District's sole source of your drinking water is contaminated - and eventually, that contamination will spread into other parts of the groundwater basin, which is also used by the City of Santa Cruz, Central Water District, other small mutual agencies, and over 1,000 private well owners.
We are working to ensure that a day without water will never arrive for our customers and are implementing the Pure Water Soquel project - a drought-proof water resource that is adaptable to climate change.
Take a little bit of time to reflect on what your life would be like without water and learn more about Pure Water Soquel - a project to replenish our water supply and protect our groundwater basin from being further contaminated with seawater. This project will provide a safe and reliable water supply for generations to come.
How safe and reliable? Check out the science: the advanced water purification processes to be used in Pure Water Soquel are proven systems that successfully remove pharmaceuticals and personal care products, as well as pathogens and viruses (including COVID-19) and create purified water. This water is cleaner than treated groundwater or surface water, and the bottled water you and your family may drink.
There are four components of the Pure Water Soquel project - a recycled water treatment facility, conveyance pipelines, an advanced water purification facility, and seawater intrusion prevention wells. This project is an investment in our water system infrastructure and natural resources and is anticipated to cost $90 million. Plus, we are prudently planning for cost contingencies, just like you would do when remodeling your kitchen. The good news is the District (i.e. our customers) were fortunate to be awarded a $50 million grant from the State Water Board, along with millions of dollars in very low-interest loans from the state and the U.S. EPA to help fund the rest of the project costs. The State and EPA financial contributions demonstrate the investment, partnership, and support for the District and the Pure Water Soquel project for our community.
We are effectively leveraging the rates you pay, and this will reduce pressure on the need for future rate increases. On top of that, a UCSC study evaluated the cost/benefit of Pure Water Soquel, concluding that for every dollar invested to build the project, nearly $9 is put back into the economy. That results in an approximately $1 billion positive economic impact, and that's good for all of us. The report also states that if the project were not to be realized, then people would need to use less water and pay an estimated three-times more in rates.
Imagining a day without water might look like this: you wake up one day and there's no water to drink or to make coffee. You don't have any water to shower or take a bath, flush the toilet, or do laundry. Hospitals, schools, and businesses would not be able to operate, and there would be no water for fighting fires, or for fish and other aquatic life, or for farms and ranches to grow our food. What would that look like? How would it affect your own community, your neighborhood, and your household?
This can be the basis for a thought-provoking family discussion, and help reinforce the understanding that safe, reliable water (and wastewater services) are not just important - they are absolutely essential to our everyday quality of life, for our families, our livelihoods, and our future, and they must be protected and enhanced.
Want to learn more?
- For more information on this nationwide day: imagineadaywithoutwater.org. There, you can learn more and see other ways that you, your family, and your neighbors can participate.
- For more information and facts about Pure Water Soquel: soquelcreekwater.org/pws
- I hope you'll think about these concepts, and how Pure Water Soquel is part of the long-term solution to our water supply problems