Stage 3 Water Shortage & Groundwater Emergency

Stage 3 Water Supply Shortage Extended Through 2020 & 2021

The Board of Directors voted to approve Resolution 19-08, declaring a continued Stage 3 Water Supply Shortage at their regularly scheduled meeting on April 7, 2020. Soquel Creek Water District has been in Stage 3 since 2014 due to our community's long-term groundwater supply shortage. No Emergency Rates were adopted.

The basis for the continued Stage 3 declaration is the fact that our groundwater supply is in overdraft due to historical over-pumping, and seawater intrusion is being detected in monitoring wells at our coastline. If seawater reaches groundwater production wells, they become contaminated, resulting in either abandoning wells or installing costly treatment systems.  As a result, in 2014, the Board of Directors declared a Groundwater Emergency, and the State Department of Water Resources designated the basin as critically overdrafted. 

Our community has done a terrific job using less water under a Stage 3 shortage. Thanks to our community's successful water-efficiency efforts, we nearly achieved our 25% reduction goal last year! Maintaining the current level of conservation will help us continue to protect our groundwater while we develop new water sources. Stage 3 restrictions will remain in place until rescinded by the Board.

Our conservation goal in 2020 & early 2021 is to collectively use 25% less water than in 2013 (pre-drought usage). To achieve this goal, we are suggesting an annual average water use guideline of 50 gallons per person, per day.

Continued Stage 3 Measures for 2020/2021:

  • Efficient Water Use Guideline: During the Stage 3 Water Shortage in 2020 and early 2021, efficient water use is defined as an annual average of 50 gallons per person, per day. This is a general guideline only as each household is unique.
  • Car Washing Restriction: Use of a recycled water car wash is preferred. However, vehicles may be washed at home if done efficiently. Water should not run off of the property, where possible.  Efficient car washing includes any of the three methods: a waterless spray, a bucket and hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle, and/or a pressure washer. All methods should minimize water running off of the property.
  • Exterior Structure Washing Restriction: No exterior washing of structures unless for sanitation and health purposes, or if preparing to paint or stain and a pressure washer is used.
  • Save Water Signage Requirement: Businesses and institutions must display provided signage encouraging conservation and reporting of water waste.

In addition, enforcement continues of our water waste ordinance, which is always in effect year-round. Thank you for continuing your efforts to use water efficiently! 

Statewide Drought Information

On April 7, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown issued Executive Order B-40-17, ending the drought stage of emergency in all California Counties, except Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Tuolumne where emergency drinking water projects will continue to help address diminished groundwater supplies. It maintains water reporting requirements and prohibitions on wasteful practices.

The Governor's latest drought-related executive order, Executive Order B-37-16, "Making Conservation a Way of Life," established a new water use efficiency framework for California. Soquel Creek Water District is already meeting or exceeding the Governor's orders due to our long-term groundwater shortage. The District sends required monthly reports to the State.

Stage 3 Water Shortage Links and Resources

Stage 3 Water Shortage Restrictions and Regulations

See Emergency Water Rates

How to Read Your Water Meter and Water Bill

Set up a Free Waterwise Housecall

Learn About Rebates

Statewide Drought Information

Report Water Waste

Media Contact:

Melanie Schumacher, Associate Manager, Special Projects​