In the News

Recycled water plan for Pasatiempo Golf Course still in play
Proposal now focused on less-treated wastewater

By J.M. Brown, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 8/21/14

SCOTTS VALLEY — Although Scotts Valley and its water district recently approved selling recycled water to customers outside city limits, a long-delayed plan to divert treated wastewater away from Monterey Bay and onto Pasatiempo Golf Course appears still to be in play.

While previous efforts have focused on providing tertiary water, or highly treated recycled water, to the nationally recognized course in exchange for weaning it off drinking-quality water from Santa Cruz, the plan now involves selling the course wastewater that has been subject to less disinfection.

Scott Hoyt, Pasatiempo's general manager, anticipates submitting a request within a matter of weeks to state public health officials to use secondary wastewater for irrigation during low-rain months. If the state grants the request, Hoyt said he can negotiate a price with Scotts Valley, which owns the water, and the Scotts Valley Water District, which treats the water and has first rights to it.

Officials are eager to reach a resolution after studying the matter for more than a decade.

Piret Harmon, general manager of the water district, said her customers invested more than $8 million in plans to build a pipeline to carry recycled water to Pasatiempo during summer months when Santa Cruz needs to conserve potable water. That plan called for Santa Cruz to wheel back an equivalent amount of water to Scotts Valley during the winter, when there are excess flows in Santa Cruz's primary source, the San Lorenzo River.

But, now with secondary wastewater the focus and Santa Cruz dealing with drought-driven rationing and renewed supply planning, the district's options have changed. It has the right to receive up to 1 million gallons per day of Scotts Valley's treated wastewater but would have to relinquish some for the greens.

"Now, it's about selling our water right to Pasatiempo," Harmon said. "What does that do to the investment my ratepayers paid? I have to make the ratepayers whole."

The water district has seen an increase in demand for "purple-pipe," or recycled water, for construction and irrigation as awareness of the statewide drought and groundwater deficiency spreads.

Pasatiempo and Santa Cruz's municipal course, DeLaveaga, represent about 3 percent of overall demand in Santa Cruz, whose customers have faced rationing and overuse fines since May in response to the drought. Combined, the courses used 108 million gallons in 2013, up from 89 million gallons in 2012, according to the Santa Cruz Water Department.

However, this summer, the courses are rationed at 50 percent of their typical budget. From June to July, DeLaveaga used 40 percent of its typical allotment while Pasatiempo used 52 percent, the department said.

"Getting Pasatiempo onto recycled water is the right thing to do," said Rosemary Menard, Santa Cruz's water director.

However, the city is not part of the negotiations over Pasatiempo and has tabled building an intertie for winter flow to Scotts Valley. There is no way to pipe recycled water to the DeLaveaga course.

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