California Water Boards help Local Water Utility Lessen Groundwater Reliance

Grant covers 50% construction costs of a water reuse facility, creating alternative water supply.

Drinking water utility Soquel Creek Water District has been awarded a State Proposition 1 Groundwater Implementation Grant. The $50 million grant is expected to cover half of the projected construction costs for the new Pure Water Soquel Groundwater Replenishment and Seawater Intrusion Prevention facility and distribution system.

photo of water moving through the stages of clarification at the Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility | credit Dan Coyro, Santa Cruz SentinelWater recycling is considered "the primary, most cost-effective, and efficient means of creating a sustainable alternative water supply to address the critically over-drafted (Santa Cruz) Mid-County Groundwater Basin." The unanimous vote among board members is anticipated to benefit Central Coast residents and business, both in the near-term and future.

Pure Water Soquel is extremely time-sensitive. It will take treated, recycled municipal wastewater and use advanced water treatment methods to produce 1,500 acre-feet of purified water annually. Then purified water will be sent to seawater intrusion prevention / recharge wells to replenish the groundwater basin, currently the only sourcewater for District customers and other mid-county residents.

The award demonstrates strong support to protect the (natural) groundwater supply, prevent further seawater contamination, and provide community members with a safe, reliable, drought resistant water supply for future generations.

Besides the grant, the State Board approved a $36 million loan through its State Seawater Intrusion Control Loan Program at a 1.3% interest rate. The lower rate will save the District over $11 million, further offsetting a large portion of the project costs.

In addition, the State supports its commitment to investing in local communities and helping them toward a sustainable water future, as well as utilizing the latest water reuse technology.

Last year, we described in the detail how Soquel Creek Water District upgraded its water data management capacity to address new Water Boards groundwater regulations, saltwater intrusion in groundwater aquifers, and the influx of residents. You can read it here.