It has been a good week for Water in Santa Cruz…

It has been a good week for Water in Santa Cruz. 3 days of rain.  And it was a slow steady rain, just the right type to soak into the watershed.

Two exciting ideas were presented during the November  meetings: one a new storage option and the other, a new water source.

Aquifer restoration conditions are excellent. Mike Cloud, retired Santa Cruz County Geologist told the WSAC Wednesday that the Santa Margarita and Aromas Aquifers were excellent candidates for recharge. Even better, the recharge locations for the Santa Margarhita are in Scotts Valley, and are higher in elevation and upstream from the creeks that feed the San Lorenzo river. As the Aquifer is recharged, base flow in the San Lorenzo and its streams will increase, benefitting fish, habitat and downstream water users, including the City of Santa Cruz.

Additional Winter Water at the Felton Diversion is already permitted for City Use. Martha Lennihan, Santa Cruz City water rights attorney for 20 years advised the City to make more winter use of the Felton Diversion. Rosemary Mennard, City Water Director said up to 3,000 Acre ft. of additional take is available if we can figure out how to harvest it. 3,000 Acre ft. is over 900 Million gallons  per year.

Water Supply Advisory Committee refines its evaluation plan: WSAC used its November meeting to think about and discuss how the various alternatives would be evaluated. The consultants previewed their methodology and asked what additional questions would the committee like to consider. 12 alternative supply options are going to be evaluated by the technical consultants. The alternatives are not “the” alternatives, but are some of the alternatives. So this process is being viewed by the WSAC as a “test run” to see if the evaluation scheme is going to work. The technical consultants will offer opinions on 5 items regarding each alternative.
These items are:

  • Quantity of Water to be supplied.
  • Capital Cost
  • Annual Operating and Maintenance costs
  • Energy cost 
  • Legal, Permitting, political questions and Unknowns.  

The December meeting will be held on Wednesday December 17 and Friday December 19.