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Posted on: January 25, 2018

Soquel Creek Water District Awarded State Grant of up to $2 Million

For Immediate Release

Melanie Mow Schumacher, P.E., Special Projects-Communications Manager
Phone:  831-475-8501 x153

Soquel Creek Water District Awarded State Grant of up to $2 Million

Funding will help proposed Pure Water Soquel project planning and evaluation efforts

Soquel, CA (January 25, 2018) – The Soquel Creek Water District has been awarded a grant of up to $2 million dollars from California's Proposition 1 Water Bond funding program. This grant will help fund planning efforts for the District's proposed Pure Water Soquel Project, such as technical and environmental evaluations.

The Water Bond that was passed in November 2014, included $800 million for projects which prevent and clean up contamination of groundwater that serves as a source of drinking water. Seawater contamination is already detected in the coastal monitoring wells at both ends of the District (Pleasure Point area and Aptos/La Selva Beach area), and its groundwater basin is identified by the state as "critically overdrafted" and mandated to be sustainable by 2040. Since groundwater is currently the District's only source of drinking water, the prevention of seawater intrusion from moving further inland is a top priority for both the District and the state, making this grant both timely and extremely useful.

As part of the District's Community Water Plan, Pure Water Soquel is being considered as a supply option to address over-drafting of the groundwater basin by diversifying the District's water resources portfolio to help provide the community with water supply sustainability and resiliency. Other supply options under consideration include desalination, river water transfers, and stormwater capture. The District Board is currently considering all of these options, which are in different stages of evaluation and have varying quantities and estimated costs.

The proposed Pure Water Soquel Project would help prevent seawater from contaminating the groundwater by using purified, recycled water to replenish the underground aquifer, creating a clean water "barrier" against further seawater intrusion. This type of project incorporates a "One Water" approach by reusing water in a sustainable, full circle manner. It would take already-treated wastewater that is being discharged into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and purify it using a three-step advanced treatment process (micro-filtration, reverses osmosis, and UV-light/advanced oxidation). The end result is high-quality, purified water that meets or exceeds all state and federal drinking water standards, and can be used for replenishing the groundwater basin.

"The award of this grant shows the state's recognition and support of the crucial work we're doing to protect the groundwater basin," said Dr. Bruce Daniels, President of the Soquel Creek Water District Board of Directors. "Our use of this grant also illustrates how we are mindful of making the most efficient use of ratepayers' money by leveraging it with state funding, toward ensuring a reliable, safe, and sustainable drinking water supply."

The process of using purified water to recharge groundwater basins is successfully being used in several places in California, elsewhere in the U.S., and abroad. Orange County Water District's Groundwater Replenishment Project is the most widely known, with over 2 billion gallons of water purified and used to recharge their groundwater. That's part of the reason why Disneyland can proudly state on their website, "We are so fortunate to have the Groundwater Replenishment System right in our backyard…Today, almost all of the water used at the Resort is recycled in this manner."

The District enjoyed wide support for its application for this planning grant, including the City of Capitola, County of Santa Cruz, City of Santa Cruz Public Works Department, Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency, Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County, Assemblymember Mark Stone, and State Senator William W Monning.

 About Soquel Creek Water District

The Soquel Creek Water District is 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.

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