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WSAC Annual Report 2016

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Our Water, Our Future<br />

<strong>2016</strong> ANNUAL REPORT


Dear Resident,<br />

Just over a year ago, the Santa Cruz City Council approved<br />

recommendations to secure the future of our community’s water<br />

supply. Created by residents who served on the Water Supply<br />

Advisory Committee (<strong>WSAC</strong>), the recommendations include<br />

increased conservation, consideration of water transfers and<br />

additional water storage, purified recycled water and desalination.<br />

The <strong>WSAC</strong> also encouraged regional collaboration.<br />

What has happened in the year since the Council approved the<br />

recommendations? The short answer is that a lot of progress has<br />

been made. This report provides an update of where we are with<br />

each recommendation to better secure your water future.<br />

Sincerely,<br />

Rosemary Menard, Water Director<br />

Santa Cruz Water Department<br />

2


Increased<br />

Conservation<br />

Did You Know?<br />

0%<br />

Even with projected growth,<br />

water use is expected to<br />

remain flat due to new<br />

plumbing and building codes.<br />

Though Santa Cruz is already one of the top water-saving cities in the state,<br />

the <strong>WSAC</strong> recommendations increase the levels of conservation even further.<br />

Recommendations include adding new programs, increasing rebates and<br />

managing summertime use more efficiently. In the past 12 months, we:<br />

• Completed an exhaustive Water<br />

Loss Control Study to see where we<br />

might be losing water through leaks<br />

in our distribution system.<br />

• Doubled our turf-removal rebate.<br />

• Doubled our high-efficiency<br />

clothes washer rebate for machines<br />

that are certified as Energy Star,<br />

Most Efficient.<br />

• Expanded our large-landscape<br />

water budget program and<br />

updated the City’s water-efficient<br />

landscape ordinance.<br />

• Implemented budget-based water<br />

rates for our irrigation accounts.<br />

• Completed the 2015 Urban Water<br />

Management Plan, which was<br />

adopted by City Council in August.<br />

3


Water<br />

Exchanges<br />

and Aquifer<br />

Storage &<br />

Recovery<br />

The <strong>WSAC</strong> recognized that conservation alone will not solve our water supply<br />

problem. <strong>WSAC</strong> members also learned that in normal rain years, a lot of river water<br />

flows into Monterey Bay simply because we have nowhere to store it. Building<br />

another reservoir is not feasible at this time. So the Committee zeroed in on<br />

storing water in local, depleted aquifers through water exchanges and/or aquifer<br />

storage and recovery.<br />

Water exchanges allow groundwater-dependent water districts, like Soquel Creek<br />

Water District, to rest and recharge their aquifers, using excess winter surface water<br />

from Santa Cruz. Soquel Creek Water District agreed to pilot a water exchange<br />

project after careful water-mixing studies are complete (groundwater and surface<br />

waters have different characteristics). Water exchanges between Santa Cruz and<br />

Soquel Creek Water District will likely be tested in the winter of 2017-2018.<br />

Did You Know?<br />

In-Lieu<br />

Recharge<br />

of aquifers provides water from<br />

another source in lieu of drawing<br />

water from an aquifer, so the<br />

aquifer can rest and recharge.<br />

4


Did You Know?<br />

Active<br />

Recharge<br />

of aquifers utilizes wells with<br />

screens at precise depths to inject<br />

water directly into the aquifer.<br />

The concept for aquifer storage and recovery, or ASR, is simple. Much like<br />

depositing money in a savings account, excess water is injected directly into<br />

a targeted aquifer where it can be withdrawn later – during a shortage of<br />

surface water.<br />

ASR has been used successfully in some places. However it has also failed in other<br />

places, and will take much local study before we will fully understand its potential.<br />

Storing and recovering water in an aquifer is a complex process that requires<br />

modeling and pilot testing to identify the ideal location for an ASR project.<br />

5


Recycled<br />

Water<br />

and Desal<br />

Did You Know?<br />

2:1<br />

Desalination uses approximately<br />

two gallons of seawater to produce<br />

one gallon of drinking water.<br />

Purified recycled water has been used in California for decades. It is currently<br />

used indirectly for things like landscape irrigation, crop irrigation, dust control,<br />

industrial cooling and aquifer recharge. The State is examining the feasibility of<br />

adopting regulations to use it directly for drinking water.<br />

What is the best use for purified recycled water in Santa Cruz? Will using purified<br />

recycled water help provide a secure water supply for the community? Will<br />

purified recycled water or desalination be needed in addition to water transfers<br />

and ASR to fully close the supply gap identified by the <strong>WSAC</strong>? These are a few of<br />

the questions that the Water Department began to study and analyze in <strong>2016</strong> in<br />

accordance with the <strong>WSAC</strong> recommendations. Desal remains a back-up plan if ASR<br />

and/or recycled water cannot meet our community’s needs.<br />

6


Next Steps<br />

Did You Know?<br />

64%<br />

Residents use 64% of the<br />

Santa Cruz Water Department<br />

water supply, businesses use<br />

19%, agriculture uses 8% and<br />

UCSC uses 7%.<br />

At its November 24, <strong>2016</strong>, meeting, the Santa Cruz City Council directed the<br />

City’s Water Commission to assume oversight of the implementation of the <strong>WSAC</strong><br />

recommendations and agreements. The Commission receives regular reports<br />

and presentations from Water Department staff on studies underway; they<br />

hear from leading experts on topics like water conservation, ASR and recycled<br />

water; and they receive quarterly progress reports on the status of each of the<br />

<strong>WSAC</strong> recommendations. When feasibility, cost and energy studies for each<br />

recommendation are completed, it will ultimately be the Water Commission that<br />

will make a recommendation to the City Council on the suite of water supply<br />

projects that will meet the City’s goal to improve the reliability of its water supply.<br />

Each month a summary of the Water Commission meetings and progress made on<br />

<strong>WSAC</strong> recommendations is sent out via an email newsletter. If you would like to<br />

receive the monthly email updates, please sign up at santacruzwatersupply.com.<br />

7


Upcoming Meetings<br />

The Water Commission meets on the first Monday<br />

of every month and the public is encouraged to<br />

attend. Meetings are at 7 pm and typically held in<br />

City Council Chambers at 809 Center Street. Visit<br />

cityofsantacruz.com/departments/water/city-watercommission<br />

to confirm the location and preview<br />

the agenda.<br />

A joint meeting of the Water Commission and the<br />

City Council will be held on March 14 to update<br />

the Council on progress made on the <strong>WSAC</strong><br />

recommendations. The meeting will be at 7 pm<br />

in City Council Chambers – 809 Center Street.<br />

212 Locust Street<br />

Santa Cruz, CA 95060<br />

PRSRT STD<br />

US POSTAGE<br />

PAID<br />

SANTA CRUZ, CA<br />

PERMIT NO. 11

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