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NWRI Independent Advisory Panel



PUREWater Soquel Groundwater Replenishment Project


Consultants to the District include Carollo Engineers, Inc. and Brown & Caldwell.


Click Here to subscribe to e-mail updates on this panel's activities.


Soquel Creek Water District's PUREWater Soquel Project: Public Meeting


This NWRI Independent Advisory Panel was created to provide independent, third-party expert review of the the PUREWater Soquel project. The Panel met on September 20, 2017, at Capitola City Hall, 420 Capitola Avenue, Capitola, CA, in the Council Chambers Room. At this meeting, the Soquel Creek Water District's Project Team provided an overview of the PUREWater Soquel Groundwater Replenishment Project, and the Panel responded to written questions regarding the project submitted by members of the community.


Written questions will continue to be accepted via email at ssharkey@nwri-usa.org or via USPS at the address in the contact section (see bottom of this page) until September 27, 2017.  


A video of the meeting is available to view online at: https://livestream.com/sqcwd/events/7288657/videos/163077513


The materials discussed and/or provided at the meeting are posted below. 

  1. Agenda (PDF)

  2. Presentations (PDF)

  3. Overview of the NWRI Panel for PUREWater Soquel

  4. Secondary Effluent Sampling Results 

  5. Tech Memo NO. 2:  CEC Removal Through Advanced Treatment
  6. Source Water Sampling Plan (Revised April 2017)


About the Project


Soquel Creek Water District (District) relies entirely on groundwater to meet its customers' needs. The sustainable yield of the aquifer is 2,900 acre feet per year (AFY). (Note that 1 AFY provides enough water for two households per year).  "Sustainable yield" is the maximum volume of water that can be withdrawn from an aquifer while maintaining a long-term balance between the amount of groundwater pumped and the amount recharged to the aquifer. In the past, up to 6,000 AFY was pumped from the aquifer. By using aggressive conservation measures, the District has reduced pumping to 3,000 AFY. Although an improvement from past practices, the current rate of pumping is nevertheless unsustainable. 


The Mid-Santa Cruz County region, which includes Soquel Creek Water District, is one of 21 basins in California identified as “critically overdrafted.” As defined in the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), "A basin is subject to critical overdraft when continuation of present water management practices would probably result in significant adverse overdraft-related environmental, social, or economic impacts.” This designation requires the District to implement a basin management plan and adjust groundwater pumping to attain sustainable yield.  The basin must be in compliance with the sustainable yield by 2040.


Soquel Creek Water District faces challenges in ensuring that its customers have constant access to a safe, high-quality water supply. The groundwater basin from which the District draws its supply is pumped by thousands of private well owners, which contributes to overdraft and seawater intrusion into the basin at both ends of the district. In order to achieve sustainable yield, the District must reduce pumping and reverse the salt water contamination of the aquifer; to meet these objectives, the District proposes to implement the PUREWater Program, in which purified wastewater will be used to augment the groundwater basin, thereby alleviating overdraft and seawater intrusion.



About the Independent Advisory Panel


In 2016, NWRI formed an Independent Advisory Panel to provide expert peer review of the technical, scientific, and regulatory aspects of the PUREWater Soquel Groundwater Replenishment Project. The Panel will review the work products (i.e., draft work plan, technical memos, reports, etc.) and answer public questions on these efforts. The Panel will also consider findings from other completed or ongoing similar efforts to develop the most informed recommendations.


The Panel met via conference call in February 2017 to review background information on the project and discuss the feasibility study and geochemical analysis. The first public meeting of the Panel will be held in Capitola, California. Advance notice of the meeting will be provided to the community. At this meeting, the District and its consultants will present an overview of the PUREWater Soquel Project. Members of the community are invited to submit written questions for the Panel.


Charge of the Independent Advisory Panel


The Panel is charged with the following:


As part of the process, the Panel is expected to provide the following:


At the conclusion of each meeting, the Panel will prepare a summary report that provides findings and recommendations on the various technical, scientific, and regulatory aspects of their review of the work products associated with the PUREWater project. 


Panel Members


The Independent Advisory Panel is made up of six experts in the fields of drinking water standards, microbiology, toxicology, hydrogeology, water policy and resource management, risk assessment, monitoring, and other areas relevant to the study. The panel members are:


Click here to download a PDF containing biosketches of the Panel members.






Suzanne Sharkey, Water Resources Scientist and Project Manager

National Water Research Institute

ssharkey@nwri-usa.org or (714) 378-3278

18700 Ward Street, Fountain Valley, CA  92708



ARCHIVE of Past Panel Meetings


Kickoff Call (Panel Meeting #1) held February 2017


A kickoff meeting of the Panel was held on Monday, February 27, 2017, from 1:00-3:00 pm (PST) via web-enabled conference call. At this meeting, the Soquel Creek Water District's Project Team provided the Panel with an overview of the PUREWater Soquel Groundwater Replenishment Project. The Panel asked questions about the project and planned to collaborate on a follow-up conference call to provide the Project Team with feedback on the plan for monitoring water quality in the aquifer.   

The materials discussed at the meeting can be downloaded from the links below:


  1. Agenda

  2. Overview of the Panel Process

  3. Overview of Soquel Creek's PUREWater Project

  4. Groundwater Replenishment Feasibility Study

  5. Geochemical Characterization

  6. Constituents of Emerging Concern (CEC) Sampling Plan and Water Quality Study

  7. Final Report for Panel Meeting #1


Public Meeting (Panel Meeting #2)