In the News

Reservoir Level Belies Water Needs

By Danny Wool, 1/05/11

The heavy rains have almost filled Loch Lomond, and another storm could bring it past the spilling point, but that doesn’t mean the county’s water problems have evaporated. According to the Santa Cruz Water Department, the reservoir can hold 2.86 billion gallons of water, and it is just 80 million gallons short of that because of the extensive rains. “But that doesn’t mean we’re out of trouble,”  water department chief Bill Kocher told the Santa Cruz Sentinel. The district’s customer base is growing, but the capacity to store water is not growing along with it.

Ron Duncan of the Soquel Creek Water District agrees, saying that his district relies on underground aquifers, and it can take up to eight years for this year’s rain to reach them. He says it would “take multiple years of way-above-average rainfall to ever correct the situation.” Ted Benhari of the Santa Cruz Water Coalition concurs: “The fact that the lake is full now and spilling over doesn’t have any great benefits for the city’s water supply in the summertime.”

But while Kocher and officials at the Soquel Creek Water District favor a desalination plant, Benhari claims that would be too energy intensive. Instead, he would like to see all the districts invest in repairing the pipes that carry water throughout the region. Fixing the leaks could take time, though, because many of them are situated in sensitive habitats that cannot easily be dug up. Read more at Santa Cruz Sentinel.

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