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Posted on: September 16, 2022

Pure Water Soquel – One of Only 16 Projects Worldwide in ‘Beneath the Surface: The Journey of Water

For Immediate Release  

Date: September 16, 2022 

Contact Information:
Melanie Mow Schumacher, Special Projects-Communications Manager  
831-475-8501 x153  

 Pure Water Soquel – One of Only 16 Projects Worldwide in ‘Beneath the Surface: The Journey of Water’ Series

Presented by the International Water Association, the series profiles innovations and innovators who are advancing positive change toward water sustainability 


Soquel Creek Water District is proud to announce the upcoming international launch of a mini-documentary focusing on the District’s Pure Water Soquel project. The Pure Water Soquel advanced water purification center is currently under construction by Black & Veatch Construction, Inc. and is anticipated to be operational in 2024.  

This film, produced for us by BBC StoryWorks, is part of a human-centric series presented by the International Water Association called “Beneath the Surface: The Journey of Water” which includes short films that profile the innovations and innovators who are advancing positive change toward water sustainability. The complete series, which initially launched at the International Water Association Conference in Denmark last week, includes 16 unique stories from around the world. The Pure Water Soquel film is one of only two in the series from the United States with others from around the world representing Spain, Uganda, Brazil, Scotland, Sweden, Portugal, and more.  

Each film has a unique launch date to coincide with worldwide promotion from BBC StoryWorks. Pure Water Soquel’s film will be officially released online on Thursday, September 22 – the first of the series to have its international introduction. The Pure Water Soquel film and the entire series can be viewed at

The mini-documentary tells our story of the severe drinking water challenges faced in the California mid-coast region, and how the District, its community, and neighboring partners determined that replenishing groundwater with advanced purified recycled water was the most productive path toward a sustainable water supply. It also highlights the overarching integral role that water plays in every community, and how recycled water must be part of the solution for a secure water future – for people, and the environment. 

Filming and production for the Pure Water Soquel footage began in March 2022, and includes interviews with Melanie Mow Schumacher, Pure Water Soquel’s Program Director; Cindy Wallis-Lage, Black and Veatch’s Executive Director for Sustainability and Resilience; and Bridget Hoover, the Water Quality Protection Program Director for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.   

“We’re pleased to bring this short film to the community that we serve, and others who are interested in how our small District came to the forefront of utilizing advanced purified water,” said Dr. Tom LaHue, President of the Soquel Creek Water District Board of Directors. “It’s our hope that people will gain a further understanding of how important Pure Water Soquel is to a sustainable water future and combating further seawater intrusion.”  

Added District General Manager Ron Duncan, “This mini-documentary also points to our valued partnerships, which are crucial to successfully implementing this groundwater replenishment project. That includes the City of Santa Cruz, as well as the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Agency whose membership encompasses many other users of this critically-overdrafted basin.” Mr. Duncan also noted, “Our partnerships extend to the state and federal levels, which have provided generous grants and low-interest loans to help build Pure Water Soquel. And, it’s under the leadership of our Board of Directors that these partnerships – and the Project itself – have flourished.”  

As part of this international group of productions, the District’s Pure Water Soquel project is gaining global attention, and helping to raise awareness of our local groundwater challenges with seawater intrusion that are also faced by many other regions around the world.  

About the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Basin 

The Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater basin is the sole source of fresh water for the communities served by the Soquel Creek Water District. This basin is classified as “critically overdrafted” by the California Department of Water Resources, and the historic overdrafting has led to active, confirmed seawater contamination of this drinking water supply. If left unchecked, the seawater will render the groundwater unusable. Under California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), this basin is mandated to be sustainable by 2040. A key tool to achieve sustainability is Pure Water Soquel. This project will take recycled wastewater from the Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility, treat it to drinking water standards at a new state-of-the-art advanced water purification facility, and then pump it underground to replenish the groundwater basin. This process will raise the groundwater to protective levels to prevent further seawater contamination, and contribute to the region’s drinking water supply.  

The Project will reduce ocean discharge of treated wastewater to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary by recycling it for beneficial reuse and creating purified water for groundwater replenishment.  

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  

About Black & Veatch  

Black & Veatch is an employee-owned engineering, procurement, consulting, and construction company with a 100-year legacy of innovations in sustainable infrastructure. Black & Veatch Construction provides construction services to the power, water, and communications markets.

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