In the News

Fish, Groundwater Are Concerns for New Soquel Well

Santa Cruz Water Department to examine Soquel Creek, private wells before digging.

By Genevieve Bookwalter, Capitola Patch, 1/11/11

Officials with the county’s largest water agency are examining whether fish counts and groundwater supplies in Mid-County will be diminished by a proposed Soquel well.

Santa Cruz Water Department is proposing a new well on .74 acres of undeveloped property on the corner of Research Park Drive and Cory Street, within water department limits. When built, the well would reach 320 feet below ground and could provide about 700 gallons per minute — the amount needed to serve about 1,130 families of four with water for one year.

But before digging the new water source, department officials will study whether the well would take water away from neighbors who depend on their own, private wells or disturb fish in nearby Soquel Creek.

“We’re trying to be a little more sensitive,” said Paula Fell, senior planner with Chambers Group, the firm conducting the required environmental study.

Santa Cruz Water Department serves about 90,000 customers from the North Coast into Soquel and Capitola. It is run by Santa Cruz City Council.

The Soquel well would replace another that has been mothballed because of excessive rust in the water, said water department head Bill Kocher.

“It was hard to keep operating,” Kocher said. “It required constant cleaning.”

The well also would take pressure off the city’s Purisma aquifer, which is near the coast and could be overrun with salt water if the fresh water supply is drawn too low, staff said.

No one showed up to a public hearing on the matter Tuesday night at Best Western Capitola-by-the-Sea Inn and Suites, leaving staff wondering if the matter lacked controversy or if residents knew the meeting was taking place.

No public comments had been submitted, either, said associate civil engineer Leah Van Der Maaten. The meeting was noticed on the city’s Web site and in a handful of other, legally-required places.

The deadline to submit comments is Jan. 17.

Will the city be doing more outreach between now and then?

“We’re thinking about it,” Van Der Maaten said.

Learn more about the proposed well and submit comments here.

© 2008-2013 scwd2 Desalination Program, All rights reserved.