Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Feb 01st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Water Boarding

faucet-dripCity of Santa Cruz begins selection of new Water Supply Advisory Committee

In October, in the wake of a decision to hit pause on desal talks, City of Santa Cruz officials directed city staff to develop a detailed community engagement program for the examination of the city’s water supply issues. That included the formation of a professionally facilitated Water Supply Advisory Committee.

Officially, the stated objective of the committee is “to explore, through an iterative, fact-based process, the city’s water profile, including supply, demand and future threats; analyze potential solutions to deliver a safe, adequate, reliable and environmentally sustainable water supply, and to develop strategy recommendations for city council consideration.”

The prospective members of the citizen advisory committee certainly have their work cut out for them. The committee primarily will be tasked with formulating recommendations to the city council for drought water supply options.

Creation of the committee comes as Gov. Jerry Brown has declared an official drought state of emergency for the state of California. In his January announcement, Brown directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for drought conditions.

“We can’t make it rain, but we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California’s drought now threatens, including dramatically less water for our farms and communities and increased fires in both urban and rural areas,” Brown said.

The governor is directing state agencies to use less water and hire more firefighters, as well as initiating an expanded public awareness campaign aimed at water conservation.

Communities around the state face water shortfalls due to what meteorologists have declared the driest year in recorded state history. In fact, state officials said on Jan. 28 that 17 communities throughout the state are in danger of running out of water in 60 to 120 days. That includes the Lompico Water District, which serves 500 customers in the San Lorenzo Valley. The district’s board implemented a mandatory water-rationing program on Jan. 21 but the shortage problems remain.

The problems of nearby Lompico could serve to emphasize the need for action in Santa Cruz, underscoring the importance of finding solutions.

The city’s water supply advisory committee will spend the next 12 months analyzing potential solutions for the water supply shortage issues and looking at ways of creating and delivering an environmentally sustainable water supply. The committee will also be tasked with analyzing and providing comments on the Habitat Conservation Plan, the Master Conservation Plan, and other plans. In the initial description of the committee, city officials said they envisioned it as a sophisticated body that will dive deeply into increasingly complex data and information as it proceeds through its work plan.

Applications to be a part of the 14-member committee were accepted through Jan. 15. Those will now be reviewed by an ad-hoc committee of three city council members, which will provide the city council with a list of nominees for review and acceptance later this month.

“We received well over 50 applications—maybe even closer to 100,” says Scott Collins, assistant city manager for the City of Santa Cruz. “We were very happy with the level of interest across the community.”

The selected members will include three representatives each from environmental and business groups, three Santa Cruz city residents, one non-city resident water customer, one representative of Desal Alternatives, one representative of the Sustainable Water Coalition and two members of the city’s Water Commission.

Santa Cruz County Supervisor John Leopold told Good Times in January that he was happy there would be a member from outside the City of Santa Cruz, though “concerns remain that representation is disproportionate to the number of ratepayers outside the City of Santa Cruz.”

The city’s water district serves more than 30,000 residents in the Live Oak area Leopold represents, yet they have no elected representation in the management of the system, says Leopold.

Collins emphasized the city’s desire to ensure the committee is diverse.

“We want to make sure it’s really balanced,” says Collins, adding that a final selection should be made in February. “We’d like to get the ball rolling sooner rather than later.”

The decision to form such a committee was born largely out of vocal community opposition that arose around plans for a seawater desalination plant that would have been shared with the Soquel Creek Water District. Many community members felt the city was not communicating sufficiently with residents about water supply problems. As a result, city officials stepped back from desalination plans late last year and have launched a number of efforts to engage the public in the ensuing discussions. That included hiring Eileen Cross in April to help with the city’s communications needs on the draft Environmental Impact Report preparation, hiring a new communications specialist dedicated to the water department, and holding a series of events geared at educating the public about local water issues.

“The committee’s work is critically important to the process of developing recommendations for consideration by the city council,” Mayor Lynn Robinson said in a press release in December. “We’re very encouraged by the initial community interest in this process and are confident that the committee will have well-qualified representatives from throughout the Santa Cruz water service area.” 

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Throwing It All Away

Everybody’s for recycling, right? So why are we all doing it wrong? Our reporter gets down and dirty to uncover 10 secrets that will finally make the recycling process make sense

 

Aquarius Calling, Humanity Rising

Aquarius (11th sign after Aries) is the sign of service—serving one another, building community. Aquarius is fixed air, stabilizing new ideas in the world. When new ideas reach the masses the ideas become ideals within the hearts and minds of humanity. Air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) are mental. They think, ponder, study, research, gather and distribute information. For air signs, education and learning, communicating, writing, being social, tending to money, participating in groups and creating sustainable communities are most important. One of the present messages Aquarius is putting forth to the New Group of World Servers is the creation of the New Education (thus thinking) for humanity—one based not on commodities (banking/corporate values) but on virtues. Humanity and Aquarius Aquarius is the sign of humanity itself. We are now at the beginnings of the Age of Aquarius, the Age of Humanity (rising). The “rising” is the Aquarian vision of equality, unity, the distribution and sharing of all resources and of individual (Leo) creative gifts for the purpose of humanity’s (Aquarius) uplifting. This is the message in the Solar Festival of Aquarius (at the full moon) on Tuesday, Feb. 3. We join in these visions by reciting the World Prayer of Direction, the Great Invocation.Tuesday’s solar festival follows Monday’s Groundhog Day, or Imbolc (ancient Celtic fire festival) the halfway mark between winter solstice and spring Equinox). The New Group of World Servers (NGWS) during these two days are preparing for the upcoming Three Spring Solar Festivals: 1. Aries Resurrection/Easter Festival (April); 2. Taurus Buddha/Wesak Festival (May); and 3. Gemini’s Festival of Humanity (June). Aquarius and the new and full moons together are the primary astrological influences behind all of humanity’s endeavors. The NGWS are to teach these things, calling and uplifting humanity. Join us everyone. (301)

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Job Insecurity

Woman fights for her job in thoughtful, life-sized ‘Two Days One Night’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Jeffrey’s Restaurant

Why quick and friendly service matters at a local diner.

 

If you didn't live in Santa Cruz, where would you be living?

I would live in Kauai because the water is warmer, and I just love it there. Maureen Niehaus, Santa Cruz, Dental Assistant

 

Clos LaChance Wines

Pinot Noir 2012

 

Striking Gold

A taste of Soquel Vineyards’ five gold medal-winning Pinots