I am here to urge you to pick up the pace of your water transfer efforts. Your district is in a stage 3 drought emergency this year. So was it last year and so will it be next year because you have no supply of water and your customers are overdrafting your groundwater basin. Your preferred plan is recycled water. Your own best estimate of an accelerated timeline for this project is 2022. That is 6 years from now.

Santa Cruz is offering SqCWD up to 200 million gallons this winter and spring. Your district is nowhere near ready to take that water. The district is now 22% flushed. At this rate, you will miss the entire winter and spring this year as well….200 million gallons, or more, flushed down the river.

The water in Santa Cruz is of different chemical composition than the SqCWD ground water. That does not mean there is anything wrong with the water. I live in Live Oak and drink water that comes from wells half the year and the water treatment plant the other half of the year. So does your General manager. The water is fine. The pipes are the same in both Soquel Creek and Santa Cruz. What the district needs to do is get busy figuring out the way to deal with the different water chemistry….

The district has concerns raised by water quality disaster in Flint Michigan when that district switched water supplies. Closer examination reveals that there is nothing wrong with the water in Flint, either in the old source or the new. What was wrong in Flint was an incompetent management team. The team omitted the recommended orthophosphate injection system as a cost saving measure. Saved $30,000; endangered people; covered it up. Now they are looking at Billions in clean-up expenses.

Soquel Creek is no such place. You have competent managers. You need to let them do their jobs. This is not difficult. Most water districts have water from more than one source. There are established methods for dealing with the differences in chemistry.

The water district in Soquel Creek has many challenges ahead of it. You cannot afford to pass up this 200 million gallons a year. You are facing sea water contamination of your wells in less than 2 years. It will take years to get a recycled water plant built. Santa Cruz will have to approve it, and will likely demand first rights on the input, as Santa Cruz owns the recycled water. Running a recycled water plant is much more complex than balancing water chemistry. “So I suggest the Soquel Creek Water District put a priority on taking the water offered from Santa Cruz and do everything necessary to accelerate its pace in completing the chemical tests and flushing program such that it is absolutely prepared to take water transfers in 2017. This is doable. …..and should be done.

Scott McGilvray, 335 13th, Live Oak District of Santa Cruz 12/6/2016
See website: http://waterforsantacruz.com