Raising awareness of groundwater is extremely important locally since all our water supply in the Santa Cruz Mid-County region comes from a complex groundwater basin comprised of two aquifers, the Purisima Formation and the Aromas Red Sands. Although we, including our hydrologists and others representing the county, state, and federal officials, have been studying these aquifers for more than 60 years, our knowledge and understanding of our local groundwater resources are continuously expanding as more data is gathered, water use changes, climate changes, and new wells are drilled. Our main sources of information come from well logs and geology samples that have been drilled in the past as well as from water level data gathered from our groundwater wells that we regularly test and measure. This topic is especially relevant since National Groundwater Awareness Week is March 11 through 17th!
New Studies! Recently new studies have increased our awareness:
- Groundwater Model: The District's hydrologist has been using data collected over the years to create a complex computer model to help interpret our groundwater basin. The model is designed to run simulations with various pumping rates from wells, water usage, and climate change to give us a better understanding of how to reach basin sustainability.
- Freshwater-seawater Interface mapping: Through monitoring well data, we have known for many years that there is seawater contamination at both ends of our service area boundaries near the coast. This past year we took part in a special study with the newly formed Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Agency to get an even better picture of where the seawater is located in the groundwater. Using a technology developed in Denmark, a helicopter towed a geophysical measurement tool offshore to map the fresh and seawater interface along the coastline. The results of this study are planned for release in late March.
More Grant Funding! Last month we announced we received up to $2 million for activities to further evaluate the Pure Water Soquel Project. In February we continued to get more good news from the State with another $1.5 million in grant funding to the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Agency for the development of a mandated groundwater sustainability plan.
We appreciate the statewide and local support for our ongoing efforts to understand, manage, and sustain our precious groundwater resources for generations to come. In light of the dire water conditions happening right now in Cape Town, South Africa, it's important to remember that diversification with additional water sources is essential to water security and resiliency. To learn more about our Community Water Plan and new sources we're evaluating that may complement our groundwater source, visit the Community Water Plan page.
As always, if you have any questions about this month's topic or anything else related to Soquel Creek Water District, feel free to email Melanie Mow Schumacher or call 831-475-8501, ext. 153.