Celebrate Water at the Water Harvest Festival & Water Bills Pay for Groundwater Protection and the Water System - September 2019
Celebrate Water at the Water Harvest Festival
Planning is under way for the second annual Water Harvest Festival that will be held on October 20th from 11-3pm at Anna Jean Cummings Park, also known as Blue Ball Park in Soquel. This will be a fun family oriented festival to celebrate our local water resources. Companies and environmental organizations will come together to share their knowledge and resources with engaging activity tents and interactive displays about water.
There will be arts and crafts, educational activities, acoustic music, and food trucks. Last year Soquel Creek Water District did bubble printing, the Resource Conservation District hosted a fish printing activity and County Parks made little paper watersheds. The Museum of Discovery ran a water use relay race, Save Our Shores had kids spray rain on the toy watershed model, and the Mid-County Groundwater Agency ran the groundwater flow model. There was also information about trout fishing, animals in our water sheds, water wise landscaping, water purification, rain harvesting, and greywater.
The festival is being coordinated by Soquel Creek Water District in partnership with Santa Cruz County Parks, Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County and Save Our Shores.
If you would like to be an event sponsor or host a booth at the upcoming Water Harvest Festival, check out soquelcreekwater.org/waterharvestfestival for details.
Water Bills Pay for Groundwater Protection and the Water System
Water districts across the nation, and especially in California, are struggling with increased costs to operate and maintain aging water systems. Portions of the District’s water system are over fifty years old and require more maintenance and repair than before. The District has made significant investments in the water distribution system to ensure water reliability, and more work is required. State and Federal drinking water standards are constantly evolving and expanding, and the District needs resources to continue to meet these standards and ensure the delivery of safe, high-quality water.
The District provides water to the community through more than 15,800 service connections and relies solely on revenue generated from water bills to maintain and operate the water supply system. When customers use less water, the District’s costs don’t decrease because costs to maintain the water system are driven by the number of service connections, not by how much water is used (other than paying for electricity and pumping costs).
New Rate structure started in March
In May 2017, a Water Rates Advisory Committee, comprised of 10 District customers, two members of the Board of Directors, and relevant staff was formed to assist with the evaluation of different rate structures. A rate consultant was also hired to provide the technical evaluation. The intent was to determine whether a rate structure existed, or could be developed, that could meet the following objectives better than the District’s existing tiered rate structure: Promote fairness and equity between customer classes; reduce revenue volatility and promote financial sustainability; encourage conservation and efficient use of water; and comply with all applicable laws. After extensive evaluation and input, the proposed rate structure was adopted at the March 5, 2019 Board meeting and consists of a simpler two-tiered structure relative to the four-tiered structure that was in place. Tier 1 represents the amount of water the District can safely supply to each household using the existing groundwater supply. Tier 2 represents water use that is above sustainable levels and requires the development of additional sources of water supply.
What the rates pay for
The new rates support the daily operations necessary to provide our customers with safe, reliable, high-quality water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The rates also support infrastructure projects designed to ensure water system reliability—such as main replacements, tank recoats, well maintenance, pumps, as well as additional supplies of water necessary to protect the vulnerable groundwater basin from further seawater contamination.
If you have questions regarding your rates contact the District’s billing department at (831) 475-8500 option 3 or visit www.soquelcreekwater.org/current-rates-and-fees
As always, if you have any questions about this month’s topic or anything else related to Soquel Creek Water District, feel free to contact the District at email@example.com or visit www.soquelcreekwater.org.