The Soquel Creek Water District is engaged in multiple approaches to combat over-drafting of the groundwater basin and seawater intrusion into our local water supply. It's important to remember that these severe water supply challenges affect everyone in our community - and we are all part of the solution. Over the next few months, this series of Water Wisdom columns will feature the viewpoints of local community members and organizations talking about the importance of creating and maintaining a sustainable water supply, as a community.
Jeff Rosendale, resident of Aptos and owner of Sierra Azul Nursery and Gardens in the Pajaro Valley, is highly dependent on the availability of water for his business - perhaps more so than many other business owners. With a large demonstration garden containing nearly countless flowers, shrubs, grasses, and trees, water is obviously a fundamentally important factor in his success.
At the same time, Jeff's focus is on helping customers create water-saving gardens, or xeriscapes - landscaping that emphasizes water conservation by using efficient irrigation and drought-resistant plants. His philosophy in utilizing native/Mediterranean climate adapted plants and water-saving drip irrigation to replace high water-use turf is 100% in line with the Soquel Creek Water District's own water conservation objectives. And when Jeff went through the District's Water Wise Academy, he gained even more insight into the value of our local water supply, and what we can do to preserve it.
Jeff is more than happy to talk about his Water Wise Academy experience. "It's an incredibly informative program," he says. "In addition to learning how the District operates, seeing their facilities, and meeting staff and board members, we got a really good, solid understanding about the drinking water issues we face on the coastside."
Something else that resonated with Jeff during the Water Wise Academy was the amount of work the District does to not only provide water to its customers today, but to create a new, sustainable water supply. "I was impressed at what it takes to supply water to the community - it's much more complicated and involved than people realize, with a lot of infrastructure and management required. As a homeowner in Aptos, I gained an appreciation for how the District is getting such a big bang for the buck from the fees that are charged for water."
Since Jeff has a strong water-saving mindset, he already knew about the importance of making water conservation the foundation of all we do - in our households, in business and commercial activity, in agriculture, and throughout the community. He's been talking about that to his customers for years and says he's carried that philosophy since the droughts of the 1970s.
"We all need to pay attention to the amount of water we use, and its cost, which is more than just how much we pay for the water we use," says Jeff. "It's also the cost to our children, and the future generations - will they have enough water to thrive and enjoy the lifestyle we have today? Along with plants, the earth, and the sun, water is the very basis of life and should not be wasted. To the contrary, our water supplies must be preserved, and enhanced."
Jeff's values around water use are very much consistent with the District's. Since we're relying on the groundwater basin for local water, he knows it makes sense to bring great efforts toward preserving and protecting that water source. "It's all about managing the aquifer," he notes. "We have seawater moving inland and contaminating freshwater wells - and not just those belonging to the District, but also hundreds of private wells used by a wide range of people."
"We all share the high stakes and responsibility for preventing further seawater intrusion and saving our water supply. Pure Water Soquel is based on the latest science plus proven results elsewhere - it's good for the future of the entire community."