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NWRI Independent Advisory Panel



Soquel Creek Water District (SqCWD)

Groundwater Replenishment Project


Consultants to SqCWD 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 Pure Water Program: Public Meeting


CLICK HERE to access the Final Report from Panel Meeting #1, held February 2017


A public meeting of the NWRI Independent Advisory Panel created to support the Pure Water Soquel project will be held in September or October 2017, at a location to be determined in Soquel, California. At this meeting, the Soquel Creek Water District's Project Team will provide an overview of the Pure Water Groundwater Replenishment Project. All interested persons are invited to attend and comment on the matter. Written comments will continue to be accepted via email at ssharkey@nwri-usa.org for five business days following the meeting.   


The materials to be discussed at the meeting will be posted here at least two weeks before the meeting date, and will likely include: 

  1. Notice of Public Meeting

  2. Agenda

  3. Overview of the Panel Process

  4. Overview of Soquel Creek's Pure Water Project

  5. Groundwater Replenishment Feasibility Study

  6. Geochemical Characterization

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


About the Project


Soquel Creek Water District (SqCWD) 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  "Sustainable yield" is the maximum volume of water that can be withdrawn from an aquifer while maintaining a long-term balance between the amount of groundwater pumped and the amount recharged to the aquifer.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, SqCWD 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 SqCWD, 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 SqCWD to implement a basin management plan and adjust groundwater pumping to attain sustainable yield.  The basin must be in compliance with the sustainable yeild by 2040.


SqCWD faces challenges in ensuring that its customers constant access to a safe, high-quality water supply. The groundwater basin from which SqCWD 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, SqCWD must reduce pumping and reverse the salt water contamination of the aquifer. SqCWD proposes to meet its customers' water supply needs through implementing the Pure Water Program, in which purified wastewater will be used to augment groundwater supplies.



About the Independent Advisory Panel


In 2017, NWRI formed an Independent Advisory Panel on behalf of Soquel Creek Water District to provide expert peer review of the technical, scientific, and regulatory aspects of the Groundwater Replenishment Project. The Panel will review the work products (i.e., draft work plan, technical memos, reports, etc.) and consider public comments on these efforts. The Panel will also consider findings from other completed or ongoing similar efforts to develop the most informed recommendations.

The first public meeting of the Panel will be held in September 2017 at or near Soquel Creek Water District in Soquel, California. Advance notice of the meeting will be provided to the community. At this meeting, the and its consultants will present the feasibility study and draft Work Plans. Members of the public are invited to submit oral and written comments.


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 Pure Water project. 


Panel Members


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


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






National Water Research Institute

Suzanne Sharkey, Water Resources Scientist and Project Manager

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


Carollo Engineers, Inc.

Andrew Salveson, Water Reuse Practice Lead



Brown & Caldwell

Sunny Wang



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 Pure Water 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 Pure Water 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) (TBD)