3-minute video featuring Santa Cruz Mayor Hilary Bryant and Soquel Creek Water District Board President Tom LaHue talking about their agencies' water shortage challenges.

The City of Santa Cruz Water Department (City) and Soquel Creek Water District (District) have been collaborating to conserve, protect and create reliable water resources.

Both have implemented numerous stringent conservation and curtailment requirements to maximize efficient water use.  The region is still challenged with water shortages and needs a reliable supplemental water source that will (1) provide needed supply during droughts, (2) allow for more water to be left in local streams and rivers to protect threatened and endangered species, and (3) restore protective groundwater levels to help prevent contamination of our groundwater supply by seawater intrusion.

Desalination was identified as the potential supplemental supply to further evaluate. In 2007, the City and District joined together to address their different needs and share the costs associated with evaluating the proposed project.

This program is currently in an environmental review process evaluating the potential for a 2.5 million gallon per day desalination facility in Santa Cruz.

Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) was released on May 13, 2013 and included an extended 90-day comment period that closed on August 12, 2013.    To access the on-line library of environmental review reports, including the Draft EIR and appendices, click here.  

No decision has yet been made on the actual construction of the proposed project.

Next steps in the environmental review include:

  • scwd2 Draft EIR Public Review Summary Report (including oral and written comments received during public comment period, expected completion in mid-October)
  • Review of comments, conduct any additional studies (as needed), prepare responses. Responses will be used to inform the City and District's independent education/outreach plans related to water supply as well as preparation of the Final EIR.



Why is a supplemental supply needed for the City of Santa Cruz?

City of Santa Cruz

  • Drought Protection
  • Protecting Endangered Species
  • Overdrafted Groundwater Resources
  • Groundwater Supply is at-risk for contamination by seawater intrusion

Desalinated-Related Issues

Preliminary architectural rendering shows how the proposed project could be designed to blend in with existing surroundings.




Why is a supplemental supply needed for Soquel Creek Water District?

Soquel Creek Water District


  • Overdrafted Groundwater Resources
  • Groundwater Supply is at-risk for contamination by seawater intrusion

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