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Pure Water Soquel Groundwater Replenishment Project

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The Soquel Creek Water District (District) relies entirely on groundwater to meet its customers' needs.


The sustainable yield of the District's aquifer is 2,900 acre feet per year (AFY). A sustainable yield is defined as the maximum amount of water that can be withdrawn from an aquifer while maintaining a balance between the water that is pumped out and the water that flows into the aquifer (recharges) from runoff and precipitation.

In the past, the District pumped up to 6,000 AFY from the aquifer. By using aggressive conservation measures, the District has reduced pumping to 3,000 AFY. Although this is an improvement, it is still unsustainable.

About the Project

The District faces challenges in ensuring that its customers have access to a safe, high-quality water supply. In addition to water used by the District, the groundwater basin is pumped by thousands of private well owners. The combined pumping overdrafts the aquifer and allows seawater to seep into the basin at both ends of the district.


To achieve a sustainable yield, the District must reduce total pumping and reverse saltwater contamination of the aquifer. Purified water from the Project will be put into the groundwater basin, thereby alleviating overdraft and seawater intrusion.

The Pure Water Soquel Groundwater Replenishment Project (Project) will replenish groundwater and prevent seawater intrusion into the groundwater basin. The Project will use advanced treatment processes to purify municipal wastewater from the City of Santa Cruz. The purified water will be injected through recharge wells to replenish the aquifer and create a seawater intrusion barrier to protect the aquifer. You can read more in this information sheet that was published by the District.

About the Panel

In 2016, an NWRI Independent Expert Advisory Panel was formed to review the Pure Water Soquel Project. The Panel provided expert peer review of the technical, scientific, and regulatory aspects of the Project.

The Panel had a conference call meeting on February 27, 2017. The District's Project Team gave the Panel an overview of the Project, and the Panel asked detailed questions. The Panel issued a report on their findings and recommendations based on the meeting.


The second Panel meeting on September 20, 2017, was open to the public at Capitola City Hall. At the meeting, The District's Project Team presented an overview of the Project. The Panel responded to written questions that were submitted by local community members. You can watch a video of the public meeting.

After the second meeting, the Panel drafted a report of their findings and recommendations.


Information Sheet from Soquel Creek Water District

Panel Report for Meeting 1

Panel Report for Meeting 2

Video of Meeting 2

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