Working Together to Improve Santa Cruz County

The Regional Water Management Foundation supports the planning and implementation of high priority projects in Santa Cruz County under grants awarded by the state’s Integrated Regional Water Management Program (IRWMP).

Click on the tabs below the map to learn more about the Santa Cruz Integrated Regional Water Management planning and implementation projects. 

Implementation began in 2008 and continues through 2012. Most projects receive funding from local, state and other sources.

 

Regional Water Management FoundationDavenport Drinking Water Improvement

Lead Agency: Davenport County Sanitation District 

Schedule: April 2008 – February  2012

Funding: SWRCB IRWM grant program

Project Description: The District is upgrading an existing treatment facility to supply water to the residents Davenport. The facility treats surface water diverted from San Vicente and Mill Creeks. The former facility did not meet state drinking water health standards. The District will install an improved filtration system and a larger capacity water tank to increase storage.

Conjunctive Use and Enhanced Aquifer Recharge

Lead Agency: County of Santa Cruz, Environmental Health Services

Schedule: April 2008 – March 2012

Funding: SWRCB IRWM grant program

Project Description: To identify approaches and projects for conjunctive use and enhanced aquifer recharge. “Conjunctive use” means the active, coordinated management of both surface water and groundwater to maximize their benefits, particularly to water supply. Surface and groundwater differ in the availability, quality, management needs and cost of development and use. The project includes studies to evaluate alternatives and determine their feasibility.

Conjunctive Use and Enhanced Aquifer Recharge, Phase 2

Lead Agency: County of Santa Cruz, Environmental Health Services

Schedule: March 2012 – September  2013

Funding: DWR IRWM planning grant; local agencies

Project Description: The phase I technical studies evaluated the feasibility of large-scale water exchanges and aquifer recharge to mitigate the water management problems in the Santa Cruz region. Phase II identifies specific projects, develops preliminary designs and assesses legal and regulatory constraints for each strategy.

Scotts Valley Recycled Water Distribution System

Lead Agency: Scotts Valley Water District

Schedule: April 2008 – December 2011

Funding: SWRCB IRWM grant program

Project Description: This project expands the existing recycled water distribution system in Scotts Valley to new areas and users. Scotts Valley has a state- of-the-art water recycling facility capable of providing high quality, treated wastewater suitable for landscape irrigation. Improving the delivery network will enable increased use of recycled water for landscape irrigation and decrease use of groundwater for irrigation.

Polo Grounds Well, Treatment Plant, Pipelines, and Water Conservation

Lead Agency: Soquel Creek Water District

Schedule: April 2008 – March 2012

Funding: SWRCB IRWM grant program

Project Description: The District will redistribute some municipal groundwater pumping to a new inland location away from the current coastal pumping areas to reduce potential threat of seawater intrusion into groundwater aquifers. An existing irrigation well will be converted to a production well and a treatment facility constructed. A water main and sanitary sewer line will be installed to serve the water treatment system. A weather based irrigation systems will be installed at the park for water conservation. Partners include the County Sanitation District and Parks Department.

Groundwater Monitoring Wells

Lead Agency: Soquel Creek Water District
Schedule: April 2008 – December  2011

Funding: SWRCB IRWM grant program

Project Description: The District installed new monitoring wells to record inland groundwater levels. This improves the ability to evaluate the impacts of local pumping on groundwater levels and understanding of local aquifers. The data benefits the district, the Central Water District, the County of Santa Cruz, and private well operators in the vicinity by filling data gaps in the network and enabling more informed decision making.

Intake Evaluation for Desalination Facility

Lead Agencies: City of Santa Cruz and the Soquel Creek Water District

Schedule: April 2008 – November 2011
Funding: SWRCB IRWM grant program

Project Description: This project provides critical design parameters for the source water intake structure for a regional desalination project being pursued by the City of Santa Cruz and Soquel Creek Water District. The intake study addresses system performance as well as environmental concerns. It is a comprehensive investigation into the viability of an open-ocean intake versus a subsurface intake for a proposed desalination facility. The study assesses system performance as well as environmental concerns.

Groundwater Recharge Projects and Policies

Lead Agency: County of Santa Cruz, Environmental Health Services

Schedule: April 2008 – March 2012

Funding: SWRCB IRWM grant program

Project Description: Implement small-scale groundwater recharge projects and establish policies and ordinances to protect and enhance groundwater recharge in groundwater basins. Projects include culvert redesign and improvement, creating grassy swales, use of retention and detention ponds to capture stormwater runoff. Work includes the review and update of County policies, programs and regulations to enhance requirements and incentives for protection and restoration of recharge during new development and remodel projects.

Aromas and Purisima Groundwater Basin Management Study

Lead Agency: Central Water District

Schedule: October 2011 – September  2013

Funding: DWR IRWM planning grant and Central Water District

Project Description:  A planning and feasibility analysis to examine the potential for redistribution of groundwater pumping between the Aromas and Purisima aquifers, near the boundary of the Central Water District and Soquel Creek Water District. Groundwater from both aquifers is currently the sole source of water supply for both districts. The Aromas aquifer is subject to seawater intrusion and naturaly occurring deposits of Chromium 6. The study will evaluate the potential to shift additional pumping from that aquifer to inland portions of the Purisima aquifer in order to balance the pumping and reduce anticipated future treatment costs.

Santa Margarita Groundwater Model Update

Lead Agency: Scotts Valley Water District

Schedule: October 2011 – September  2013

Funding: DWR IRWM planning grant and Scotts Valley Water District

Project Description: Scotts Valley relies principally on groundwater from the regional Santa Margarita Groundwater Basin. Groundwater levels in the basin have declined over 200 feet in the past 30 years. Updating the existing groundwater model is essential to the district’s efforts to identify and implement management strategies to restore groundwater levels and stream baseflow in Scotts Valley and the lower San Lorenzo River Watershed.

Regional Water Management FoundationAptos Sewer Main Relocation

Lead Agency: County of Santa Cruz, Sanitation District

Schedule: April 2008 – March 2012

Funding: SWRCB IRWM grant program

Project Description: The district is replacing a faulty sanitary sewer transmission line located in Monterey Bay offshore of New Brighton and Seacliff State Beaches. The pressurized pipeline ruptured several times in the past, spewing sewage into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. To prevent possibility of future sewage spills, the project will install a new sanitary sewer transmission line relocated inland, and upgrade facilities and equipment at multiple pump stations along the transmission line.

Santa Cruz County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program

Lead Agency: County of Santa Cruz, Public Works

Schedule: April 2008 – March 2012

Funding: SWRCB IRWM grant program

Project Description: This project is to reduce polluted runoff discharging into Monterey Bay. This is part of a larger multi-agency effort to reduce polluted runoff and comply with state and federal regulations. The work will be implemented in partnership with the Coastal Watershed Council, Ecology Action, and the County Sanitation District.
Activities include partial funding for:

Abandoned Well Destruction Program

Lead Agency: County of Santa Cruz, Environmental Health Services

Schedule: April 2008 – March 2012

Funding: SWRCB IRWM grant program

Project Description: The project will identify, prioritize and destroy old and abandoned wells that may act as conduits for contaminants in the upper soil to pollute groundwater aquifers. The distribution of abandoned wells in Santa Cruz County is currently unknown. Due to patterns of land development and conversion from agricultural to urban, some old wells are situated in urban settings where potential contaminants are located. The project will assess threat and prioritize targets, map locations, maintain a Geographic Information System and streamline the County’s well destruction process. This includes cost-sharing to assist the landowner with the cost of well destruction.

Regional Water Management FoundationAptos Watershed Drainage Master Plan

Lead Agency: County of Santa Cruz, Public Works

Schedule: April 2008 – March 2012

Funding: SWRCB IRWM grant program

Project Description: The County is preparing a drainage master plan for the Aptos Creek watershed and adjoining urban and coastal areas (Flood Control and Water Conservation District Zones 5 and 6). This includes the urban areas of Soquel Creek, Noble Gulch, Rodeo Gulch and Arana Gulch. Work includes field-verification of drainage infrastructure and condition, evaluations of the drainage systems and analysis of the watershed and the proposed improvements. The master plans will assess stormwater flows and facilitate development of policies and projects to manage flooding, reduce channel erosion, promote groundwater recharge and improve stormwater quality.

Regional Water Management FoundationIntegrated Watershed Restoration Program (IWRP, Phase 2)

Lead Agency: Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County

Schedule: April 2008 – March 2012

Funding: SWRCB IRWM grant program

Project Description: This is the second phase of the highly effective Integrated Watershed Restoration Program.  IRWP facilitates and coordinates projects to improve fish and wildlife habitat and water quality in Santa Cruz County watersheds using a voluntary, non-regulatory approach. Phase 2 includes the implementation of dozens of watershed enhancement projects, erosion control projects, habitat restoration projects, watershed education programs, and a permit coordination program to promote voluntary participation in long-term watershed restoration.

Watsonville Sloughs Integrated Watershed Restoration

Lead Agency: Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County

Schedule: April 2008 – March 2012

Funding: SWRCB IRWM grant program

Project Description: This includes numerous projects to restore and enhance wetlands and native habitats in the Watsonville Sloughs. Work includes improving the existing system of agricultural and stormwater drainage and habitat restoration to benefit water quality and habitat in the sloughs. Partners include Watsonville Wetlands Watch, Land Trust of Santa Cruz County and the City of Watsonville.

Watsonville Sloughs Hydrologic Study

Lead Agency: Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County

Schedule: October 2011 – September  2013

Funding: DWR IRWM planning grant; local, state, and federal sources

Project Description: This study provides essential information to develop and implement strategies to improve this wetland ecosystem. Proposed projects have been repeatedly delayed due to the lack of critical information on the hydrologic functioning of this complex system. A hydrologic assessment of surface and shallow groundwater flows in the sloughs will support the development of additional resource management strategies to enhance water supply, flood management, ecosystem restoration, water quality, wetland restoration, and recreational opportunities.

Regional Water Management FoundationIntegrated Regional Water Management Planning Grant

Lead Agency: County of Santa Cruz, Environmental Health Services

Schedule: October 2011 – September  2013

Funding: DWR IRWM planning grant and local agencies

Project Description:  The County has the lead coordinating role in updating the region’s Integrated Regional Water Management Plan. The region’s initial plan, completed in 2005, was financed by local agencies. The updated plan will address the water resource challenges facing the region. It will serves as a comprehensive and integrated guiding document to promote an informed, locally-driven and consensus-based approach to water resources management. Consistent with the state’s new IRWM standards, the plan will include climate change response strategies.

Coordinated Monitoring Program

Lead Agency: County of Santa Cruz, Environmental Health Services

Schedule: April 2008 – March 2012

Funding: SWRCB IRWM grant program

Project Description: This program documents implementation and evaluates the effectiveness of the Santa Cruz County Integrated Regional Water Management efforts. CMP development and coordination will include input from the participating agencies and local and regional monitoring agencies.

Improve Integration of Regional Water Management

Lead Agency: County of Santa Cruz, Environmental Health Services

Schedule: April 2008 – March 2012

Funding: SWRCB IRWM grant program

Project Description:  This project improves regional water management efforts. The IRWM partner agencies will identify planning priorities, future opportunities and regional issues. A steering committee, composed of partner agency representatives, will lead the effort to model operations for water system interties; incorporate additional jurisdictions; evaluate future water management needs; and conduct public outreach. This information will inform future efforts.