In the News

The Santa Cruz City Council On Water

Gary Patton KUSP, 2/28/12

A week from tomorrow, the Santa Cruz Local Agency Formation Commission, or LAFCO, will decide whether or not to permit the City of Santa Cruz to extend its water service, to allow UCSC to build over 3,000,000 square feet of new buildings on the UCSC “North Campus.” The plan is to convert this 240acre natural area into a densely populated academic neighborhood. While LAFCO doesn’t second-guess the University’s land use priorities, it does have the responsibility for deciding whether the City has the service capacity to provide adequate water. Obviously, the City doesn’t have any extra water; that’s why the Council wants to build a $100 million dollar desalination plant. The last time that LAFCO considered the matter, the Commission decided that it could only approve the extension of City water service if all that 3,000,000 square feet of new growth ended up being “water neutral.”

Today, the Santa Cruz City Council will consider a strategy that the City staff thinks can accomplish that result. I represent the Community Water Coalition, a community group that has been opposing this expansion of City water service. The CWC is skeptical. Federal and state agencies whose job it is to protect fish habitat also agree that this isn’t a good idea. If you’d like to review the City’s plans yourself, there’s a link to relevant materials in today’s transcript.

More Information:

Gary Patton’s Blog: Two Worlds

The Santa Cruz City Council Agenda, February 28, 2012

The Proposed City Strategy is Agenda Item #16

Proposed Resolution

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