Santa Cruz Desal Alternatives is an all-volunteer group of citizens who are concerned about the high energy use, environmental impact, and cost of a desalination plant that was proposed for our city.
Founded in 2010, we advocated before the Santa Cruz City Council that the Council put the project on hold while investigating alternatives that would enhance community water security. In 2012 we gathered signatures to place Measure P before the voters that guaranteed that voters would have the final say on approving a desal project. Measure P was approved by 73% of the voters.
In May, 2013, the draft EIR was released for the desal project. Comments from the state and federal fisheries agencies, Coastal Commission, and many citizens criticized the draft for inadequate analysis of alternatives.
In September, 2013, the City Council decided to halt spending on the desal project ($14 million was spent studying the project, of which Santa Cruz spent half) and institute a public engagement process to analyze alternatives. The City established the Water Supply Advisory Committee, which has been meeting since May, 2014. Desal Alternatives is represented on the 14 member committee by Rick Longinotti.