Pure Water Soquel, Groundwater Replenishment and Seawater Intrusion Prevention Project

What is Pure Water Soquel?

Pure Water Soquel is a groundwater replenishment project using advanced water purification methods  to purify recycled water for replenishing the groundwater basin and protecting against seawater intrusion. The purified water would mix with existing groundwater and eventually become part of the groundwater supply that is delivered to customers. The District had previously looked at recycled water options; however, with the new CA regulations of 2013, this option became a viable alternative to evaluate. In 2014, the District Board selected this project as its preferred supplemental water supply and directed staff to further evaluate. Agencies such as Orange County Water District, have been utilizing purified water for decades.

The conceptual components of the Pure Water Soquel Project (see map) would include: 

  • Source Water: Source water for the project would involve treating secondary effluent from the Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility (SC WWTF).
  • Treatment Facility(ies): There are various new treatment options that could involve either treating the source water through multiple steps of processes that may include secondary, tertiary, and purification, depending on the source water. Three different locations for the purification facility are being evaluated in the environmental analysis.
  • Purified Water and Recharge Wells: The purified water would be conveyed to new recharge wells that would transmit the water down into the groundwater basin to create a seawater barrier and replenish the groundwater basin.
  • Conveyance Systems: New pipelines  and conveyance improvements would transport the source water to the treatment facility and the treatment/brine discharge to the SC WWTF. New pipelines and conveyance would also be needed to transport the purified water to the recharge wells.



Pure Water Soquel Advanced Water Purification Treatment Plant Site Choices

Pure Water Soquel is a proposed project that is evaluating 3 different potential advanced water treatment site locations.


How can I stay informed and participate?

What are the current and past activities related to Pure Water Soquel?

  • 2018 - Draft Environmental Impact Report will be available for public review in July.
  • 2017- District receives the NWRI Final Panel Report #2, based on the independent advisory panel meeting Sept. 20, 2017
  • 2017- District Board accepts Final Feasibility Study.  This study,submitted to the State Water Resources Control Board and the US Bureau of Reclamation, includes evaluation on the various options and alternatives of the Pure Water Soquel project.
  • 2017 -  NWRI Independent Advisory Panel. A public meeting of the NWRI Independent Advisory Panel created to provide third-party review of the the Pure Water Soquel project was held September 20, 2017. Click here to view the meeting. 
  • 2017 - District and City of Santa Cruz enter into a Memorandum of Understanding memorializing preliminary terms related to the Pure Water Soquel Project.
  • 2017 - District publishes a Revised Notice of Preparation (NOP)  on June 22, 2017 that an environmental impact report (EIR) will be prepared to reflect the recent changes (elimination of untreated/raw wastewater as a source option and the addition of two potential treatment sites for the advanced water purification facility) and an additional 30-day scoping period for public comment through July 22, 2017. Click here for more info
  • 2017 - District submits a Letter of Interest (LOI) to the Federal EPA's Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program in April 2017 and is one of 43 agencies being considered.
  • 2017 - District Board reduces source water options for the Pure Water Soquel project to be already treated secondary effluent from the Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility that is currently being discharged to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.  Also, the Board adds additional purification facility sites to be considered.
  • 2017 - The District is currently preparing an environmental impact report (EIR) which is anticipated to be released in early 2018 and we will be having several meetings.
  • 2017 - The District Board commissions the National Water Research Institute (NWRI) panel to provide expert third-party, independent peer review of the technical, scientific, and regulatory aspects of the Pure Water Soquel Project.
  • 2017 - District submits application for a US Bureau of Reclamation Water Smart Grant for a Title XVI Feasibility Study for $150,000 in January 2017 and is notified that it's been selected as a recipient in May 2017.
  • 2016 - CEQA Notice of Preparation and Initial Study Released and Scoping Meetings.  Scoping closed January 5, 2017.
  • 2016 - District submits pre-application for Prop 1 Groundwater Quality Grant Funding for $2.5M with letters from Senator Monning and Assemblymember Stone
  • 2016 - A report on  Potential Injection Aquifer Geochemical Characterization was accepted by the Board
  • 2016 - The City of SC and County of Santa Cruz provided letters stating interest in providing wastewater effluent to the District.
  • 2016 - The District embarks on the environmental review in 2016-2017 .
  • 2016- The District completed its draft Feasibility Study in March 2016.
  • 2015- A Technical Memorandum on Water Quality and CECs was held on October 20, 2015.
  • 2015- Soquel Creek Water District and Santa Cruz County entered into a Cooperative Agreement in August 2015.
  • 2015- A community meeting, co-sponsored by the Soquel Creek Water District, the City of Santa Cruz, and the Water Supply Advisory Committee was held on June 17, 2015. For meeting materials, click here.
  • 2015- District awarded a $75,000 grant from the State Water Resources Control Board to prepare a Feasibility Study of using advanced purified water for groundwater replenishment.
  • 2014- District Board of Directors select advanced purified water for groundwater replenishment as its preferred option to further evaluate.  Also,directs staff to carry forward river water transfers and desalination until a final decision is made.
  • 2013- District launches re-evaluation of new supply options
  • 2013 Pursuit of scwd2 Desalination Project ceases as City of Santa Cruz steps back from project.
  • 2013 State Water Resources Control Board revises Policy for Water Quality Control for Recycled Water (also known as the Recycled Water Policy)

Want to learn more?

Several new pages have been added to our website to help educate our customers and community on this technology that produces high-quality drinking water using the most advanced treatment processes available.

March 7, 2017  Board Meeting Slide Show Presentations

Below are the four slide show presentations from the March 7, 2017 Board Meeting.