From last October to March our area received just over 16 inches of rain, which is only 62% of the typical average rainfall. Additionally, the District - in partnership with the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Agency- received new data this year validating that seawater intrusion is literally "knocking at the front door" of our groundwater supply along our entire coastline, from Pleasure Point to La Selva Beach. Protection of our endangered groundwater supply is critical to ensure that the drinking water wells that supply water to Soquel Creek Water District customers, as well as other pumpers that share the basin, remain fresh and reliable to support our community's needs. The District declared a Groundwater Emergency in 2014 and the State of California declared our groundwater basin as critically over-drafted which mandated that our groundwater resources be brought back into sustainability by 2040.
At the regularly scheduled Board of Directors meeting on April 17, 2018, the Board held a public hearing and voted to remain in a Stage 3 Water Shortage for at least another year based on the ongoing presence of the Groundwater Emergency. This is the same curtailment stage that the District has been in for the last four years. Maintaining the current level of conservation will help us continue to protect our groundwater supply while we develop new water sources. Currently, the District is evaluating four supply options within our Community Water Plan: groundwater replenishment using purified water (also known as our proposed Pure Water Soquel Project), water transfers with the City of Santa Cruz, desalination, and stormwater capture. For more information on these efforts, visit the Community Water Plan page.
A Stage 3 Water Shortage calls for a 25% reduction in water use over 2013 usage. To accomplish this, we encourage each person in the District to reduce their usage to approximately 50 gallons per day. Our community has made amazing strides in water conservation in the last few years and is nearly at this goal already! All that we ask this year is for the community to continue saving water and to make your conservation practices a way of life.
To review the District's rules regarding water waste, which are always in effect, and the additional Stage 3 water restrictions, please see "The Rules of Water Waste". Some frequently asked questions are included:
- Question: Can I wash my car at home?
- Yes, efficient car washing at home is allowed as long as an automatic shutoff nozzle is used and care is taken to reduce or eliminate the water running off the property. Washing with a bucket or with waterless spray is also appropriate.
- Question: Are fountains and ponds allowed?
- Fountains and ponds are allowed as long as they are recirculating.
- Question: Can I use my pressure washer?
- Pressure washing is permitted, if in preparation for painting and staining, or for the purposes of health and safety.
- Question: Is there water rationing?
- No, there is no water rationing or budgeting in place at this time. We are simply asking customers to meet our voluntary water use guideline of 50 gallons or less per person, per day.
- Question: Am I only allowed to water my yard on certain days?
- No, but there is a restriction on watering during the day with sprinklers. To reduce evaporative loss, sprinklers may not be used between 10 am and 8 pm.
- Question: Where can I get the required "Water may only be served upon customer request" table tent signs for my restaurant, or the signs informing my hotel guests of their option to forego daily laundering of linens?
If you could use some help making conservation a way of life, we offer a wide range of rebates to help you meet your indoor or outdoor water conservation goals. In fact, we currently have a toilet rebate for up to $300 which is funded as part of our water demand offset (WDO) program. Please visit the Conservation page for more information.
We appreciate your help in protecting our local water supply! Thank you for conserving water and learning more about our Community Water Plan.
As always, if you have any questions about this month's topic, our Community Water Plan, or anything else related to Soquel Creek Water District, feel free to email Melanie Mow Schumacher or call 831-475-8501, ext. 153.