Every August is National Water Quality Month, and it’s a great opportunity to remind ourselves of how important clean, high-quality water is every day, to every person, to our environment and wildlife, and to our entire planet. Especially in a drought, we must remember to protect the quality of our drinking water, our lakes and waterways, and our oceans.
Ensuring water quality is at the very core of the District’s everyday work. We are focused on providing safe, high-quality water to meet our community's present and future needs.
All of the water we supply to our customers is from the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Basin, and we regularly test that water from each of our groundwater wells to ensure it is clean and safe. In fact, we test for over 140 possible contaminants and then report the results to the community in our annual Water Quality Report. Any contaminants that may be found are removed or reduced to safe levels through our treatment process, in compliance with State and Federal Drinking Water Standards, before water is pumped into the distribution system.
We’re proud to report that the water delivered to you meets or exceeds all of those standards. And, we are committed to maintaining those high standards, as water quality regulations continue to evolve and become even more stringent. You can read our 2020 Water Quality Report at soquelcreekwater.org/210/Water-Quality-Report.
As this is Water Quality Month, I thought it would be fun to share with you a few ideas to help you and your family do your part in keeping our water quality to the very highest standards. How many of these are you already doing? How many more can you put into regular practice?
- Put nothing but water down storm drains. Water in those drains flows to our natural waterways, the groundwater, and the ocean, taking with it any contaminants or trash it may contain. Only stormwater and other clean water should go into storm drains - no litter, chemicals, soaps, pool water, or other water that contains harsh chemicals.
- Decrease polluted runoff on your property by replacing paved surfaces, where possible, with low-water-use landscaping or porous surfaces.
- Avoid using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. These can easily wash off your property and enter the natural water system, ending up in waterways.
- Choose non-toxic cleaners, avoid antibacterial soaps, and never put medications down the drain or toilet.
- Pick up after your pets — that waste material can also get washed away into the storm drains.
- Check your vehicles for fluid leaks — this ends up on the street and eventually into the natural water system.
- Try to patronize "green" carwashes that recycle their water.
The District’s water quality goals are a big part of the new supplemental water supply coming to the District – Pure Water Soquel. This project will put recycled water (purple pipe water) through an additional, three-step advanced purification process: microfiltration, reverse osmosis, and ultraviolet light with advanced oxidation. The result is purified water of near-distilled quality. The purified water will be pumped underground to recharge the groundwater basin, providing a drought-proof supply of clean, safe water, and creating a barrier to seawater contamination (that is already occurring in some areas).
The quality (and quantity - 1,500 acre-feet per year!) of this purified water is of great importance to not only the District and its customers, but to Santa Cruz, Central Water District, and the thousands of others who share the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Basin.
I encourage you to learn more about National Water Quality Month (nationalwaterqualitymonth.org), and about the relatively small amount of freshwater we have on planet Earth. Protecting that water quality starts right here, in a partnership between the District and the community we serve. Together, we are contributing to our water quality – and what we and others do on a local basis, will in turn contribute positively to the worldwide issue of water quality.