Groundwater is the sole source of potable water supply for the Scotts Valley Water District, so careful management is necessary to sustain the groundwater resource.
Our groundwater is stored in the Santa Margarita Groundwater Basin which is made up of the Santa Margarita Sandstone, Monterey Shale, Lompico and Butano formations. Rainfall is the only source of recharge to the basin. The District shares the groundwater basin with other users including the neighboring San Lorenzo Valley Water District, Lompico Water District, and Mount Hermon Association, as well as local businesses and residents using private wells. The District prepares annual reports that focus on groundwater conditions and system operations in the Scotts Valley area of the Santa Margarita Basin. 2016 Annual Groundwater Report.
The groundwater is pumped from six (6) wells that vary from 350 feet to 1,750 feet deep. Water is treated in pressure filters that remove the iron, manganese and hydrogen sulfide. The filters contain sand, gravel, and anthracite. Chemicals are introduced before and after filtration to oxidize the iron and disinfect the water. This treatment enables the District water to meet all the drinking water standards set by federal and state laws and regulations.
There are four (4) water treatment plants in the District. The largest is the El Pueblo Water Treatment Plant. This plant treats water from two of the District’s six wells (11A and 11B) and has a capacity of 1.44 million gallons per day. The Orchard Run Water Treatment Plant treats water from wells 7A and 3B and has a capacity of 1.37 million gallons per day. The other two wells, 9 and 10, are served by on-site water treatment plants.
To better manage the Santa Margarita Groundwater Basin and reduce pumping from the aquifers, the District embarked on a recycled water project. The $8.4 million project includes a 1.0 MGD tertiary treatment plant, a 600,000-gallon storage tank and 6 miles of distribution mains. The District’s goal is to deliver recycled water landscape irrigators, thus reducing the withdrawal from the groundwater basin by that amount.
Use of this recycled water helps the District meet the community’s long-term water needs by using highly purified recycled water to irrigate public parks, school grounds, soccer fields, and commercial landscaping.
On August 30, 2002, the District began serving recycled water to its first customer, the City of Scotts Valley for landscape median irrigation. In May 2003, the City’s Skypark soccer fields became the second recycled water user. Eventually, the use of recycled water could reduce demands on the groundwater supply by almost 20% - saving limited groundwater supplies for priority needs such as indoor use and drinking water. With the implementation of the recycled water program, the District anticipates that it will have enough supply storage and treatment for many years based on the current growth restrictions imposed by local planning department mandates.
Existing recycled water customers in Scotts Valley include landscape irrigation for parks, schools, multi-family residential and commercial properties. Providing recycled water for all permitted uses is part of the vision and mission of SVWD to deliver a sustainable, high-quality water supply in an environmentally responsible manner.