The San Lorenzo River is still flowing freely out into the sea. And even with 200% the average rainfall for Santa Cruz this past winter, water use remains steady in both Santa Cruz and Soquel Creek Water districts. Water usage by the citizens is still at reduced levels from pre-drought consumption.
Water use in the Soquel Creek Water district for the first 6 months of 2017 is almost 483 million gallons through June. Impressively, 2017 water usage is only 2.6% higher than in 2016. 250 million gallons of that water could have been supplied by Santa Cruz via water transfers, but the district is still not ready to accept water transfers. Soquel Creek has extended mandatory water rationing through this year and 2018, and is contemplating a 17% water rate increase.
In Santa Cruz, water usage in for 2017 through July is almost identical to 2016. The increase is less than 1.5% for the first 7 months. Water use in May, June and July has increased over 2016 by almost 6%. Santa Cruz has had no mandatory rationing since 2015. Santa Cruz has not yet taken water from Loch Lomond this summer. The reservoir is at 96.1% of capacity on August 1. Water rate increases are already approved through 2021.