“Water sustains all.” Thales Of Miletus
Groundwater is just that! It is water that is found underground. It fills in spaces between soil, sand, and rocks beneath the ground in areas known as aquifers.
How does groundwater get underground? Groundwater supplies are replenished, or recharged, by rain that seeps down into the cracks and crevices beneath the land's surface.
In Scotts Valley, groundwater is life!
Unlike most other water districts in Santa Cruz County, groundwater is the only source of drinking water for customers of the Scotts Valley Water District. Careful management is necessary to protect and sustain our groundwater resources today and into the future.
Our groundwater is stored in the Santa Margarita Groundwater Basin, which is comprised of the Santa Margarita Sandstone, Monterey Shale, Lompico and Butano formations. Rainfall is the main source of recharge — or refilling — the basin.
The District operates wells that vary from 350 feet to 1,750 feet deep. Pumped water is filtered through a pressurized system of sand, gravel, and anthracite to remove iron, manganese and hydrogen sulfide from the water. Chemicals are introduced before and after filtration to oxidize the iron and disinfect the water. This treatment enables the District to meet Federal and State drinking water standards.
There are three water treatment plants in the District:
- Orchard Run Water Treatment Plant treats water from wells 7A and 3B and has a capacity of 1.08 million gallons per day.
- El Pueblo Water Treatment Plant treats water from wells 11A and 11B and has a capacity of 0.547 million gallons per day.
- Well 10 has an on-site water treatment plant with a capacity of .432 mgd.
Through annual reports for the community, the District provides updates on groundwater conditions and system operations in the Scotts Valley area of the Santa Margarita Basin. The District shares the groundwater basin with San Lorenzo Valley Water District and Mount Hermon Association, as well as local businesses and residents using private wells. All of these agencies and groups are partners in the newly formed Santa Margarita Groundwater Agency, established to sustainably manage our shared resource. Learn more about the Santa Margarita Groundwater Agency
We all know that recycling is important. But did you know that recycled water plays an important role in helping the District meet the community’s long-term water needs? While groundwater provides our drinking water, recycled water provides water for other uses, such as irrigation.
By recycling wastewater through a treatment and purification system recycled water is used to irrigate public parks, school grounds, soccer fields, commercial landscaping and residential yards, which reduces the withdrawals from the precious groundwater basin.
In 2002, Scotts Valley Water district completed an $8.4 million recycled water project, which includes a treatment plant that can process up to 1 million gallons of recycled water a day. This was no small project. In fact, the project relies on a 600,000-gallon storage tank and 6 miles of distribution pipelines!
District customers and Scotts Valley city residents have access to the recycled water supply. They can pick up 250 gallons of recycled water for irrigation purposes from the Recycled Water Fill Station, which is open three days a week during the summer months.
Learn more about the Recycled Water Fill Station