Aquifer recharge in pictures


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Desal Alternatives Endorses Plan

Santa Cruz Desal Alternatives Statement on Water Supply Advisory Committee Recommendations

Santa Cruz Desal Alternatives applauds the work of the City’s Water Supply Advisory Committee, and we support the Committee’s final recommendations to the City Council. Continue reading

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Understanding the WSAC Recommendations

On Nov 10th, the City Council will study the recommendations resulting from 18 months of meetings of the Water Supply Advisory Committee and vote on those recommendations on Nov 24th.  Here are some highlights of the plan:

Q. What are the basics of the plan?

There are three major components of the Portfolio that the WSAC is recommending: conservation; aquifer recharge and storage; and a backup strategy of either recycled wastewater or desalination. Continue reading

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Why I’m Celebrating

I had serious misgivings about the energy consumption of the proposed desalination plant when it was adopted into City policy in 2005. In 2009 I had time to do something about it. Continue reading

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Statement on WSAC Proposal

As of this date, the Desal Alternatives group has developed this statement on the WSAC proposal for aquifer recharge:

Santa Cruz Desal Alternatives strongly supports the proposed regional water security strategy of storing excess winter flows from the river in over-tapped local aquifers, to be available during drought periods. Continue reading

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Thinking About Energy Impacts

Dear Committee Members,

If you ever wondered what is motivating my interest in water, you’ll find it in this memo. I’m convinced that all of us on the WSAC are concerned about energy use. As an electrical contractor, I’ve worried about our society’s fossil fuel dependency for a long time. I used to tell the kids, “Close the front door. You can’t heat up the outside.” Now It appears that nature has given us enough coal, oil and gas to do exactly that. The cosmic joke would be that shortly after irrevocably changing the climate, fossil fuel production would begin its inexorable decline and our economy would make a painfully disruptive transition to an economy fueled by the sun—at much lower energy consumption. I’d like our Committee to help make this transition less painful for our local community, leaving the next generation a secure source of water that’s not too “dear”, as the Brits would say. (Hey, Nicholas has had an impact on me.)

Thanks for considering,

Rick Continue reading

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Position on Direct Potable ReUse

The following is the position of the Santa Cruz Desal Alternatives group on potable use of recycled wastewater.

There are several serious drawbacks to Direct Potable Reuse (sending treated wastewater directly into the potable water distribution system) which should negate such an idea as a primary strategy:

1.  Energy Use:  The energy consumed by the treatment process is estimated to be approximately four times that of our current water supply. The treatment plant would run continuously—even when water in the river is plentiful.

2.  Cost:  The product water is the highest cost water (both capital costs and operating costs) short of desalination.

3.   Health: There is credible evidence from independent scientists that trace amounts of endocrine disruptors and other contaminants of emerging concern present even in recycled water produced by state-of-the-art treatment plants may be harmful to public health.


Because of these drawbacks, Desal Alternatives recommends that Direct Potable Reuse be considered as a last-resort backup water supply strategy if and only if all of the following conditions were met: Continue reading

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Conservation Working Group Report

why reduce water demand?A five-member working group of the Water Supply Advisory Committee (WSAC) has reported to the WSAC its recommendations for augmenting the City’s Draft Conservation Plan. The Water Department will evaluate those recommendations and work with members of the working group to bring draft recommendations to the WSAC September meeting. The working group recommended that the goal of conservation be to reduce demand by 150 million gallons during the peak season (about 8%) by 2035. Download the report: Conservation Working Group Report.

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Aquifer Recharge Begins at Home

Infiltration garden copyMaximizing Rainwater Infiltration in Our Landscapes

Tuesday, May 26th, 7-8:30pm,  Simpkins Swim Center, 979 17th Ave.

Low cost measures to maximize rainwater infiltration on individual properties can contribute to recharging our depleted groundwater aquifers. Find out how to be part of the solution to our water supply problems.
Speakers:   Emily Corwin, Fall Creek Engineering; Mike Cloud, Geologist & Hydrologist; Sherry Bryan, Ecology Action

The Resource Conservation District conducts no-cost evaluations for property owners on storm water management. Continue reading

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Habitat Benefits of Aquifer Recharge

from Bruce Van Allen:

So now we get to the habitat benefits of recharging our aquifers.
A good example would be Bean Creek, which comes down from the Scotts Valley basin as a major tributary of the San Lorenzo River. Bean Creek has suffered greatly from groundwater depletion in the Santa Margarita. The creek’s “base flow” (roughly its average flow not counting storm-season peaks) barely supports life in the manner to which its riparian habitats were accustomed. This is mostly because as the Santa Margarita aquifer has been depleted, less water seeps from it into the creek. If the aquifer is re-filled, both the higher elevation of the groundwater and the underground water pressure within it will increase flows of some of the aquifer’s water to the creek through the ground. Continue reading

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