In the News

Letter to the Editor

Desal alternatives getting close look

Santa Cruz Sentinel, 12/2/12

In a Nov. 24 letter to the editor, A.J. Elliott wrote that it's time to prepare a study on alternatives to the city's water supply shortages to compare against the desalination project.

Let us first clarify that the estimated cost for the desalination project is not $300 million -- but more in the range of $115 million, the cost of which would be split with Soquel Creek Water District.

The city and district conducted public and open processes to develop Integrated Water Plans (similar to Mr. Elliott's reference to trade studies) which considered how to meet our communities' needs. Desalination was identified as the best overall option to study further. Since 2007, extensive technical analyses have been conducted to prepare an Environmental Impact Report, which is scheduled for release in spring 2013.

Even though desalination was shortlisted to continue studying, evaluation of other alternatives, such as those mentioned by Mr. Elliott, is a major component of the environmental review process. By law, an EIR must evaluate feasible alternatives and the upcoming report will include a dedicated section comparing alternatives, their respective environmental impacts and their ability to meet water supply objectives. The public will have the opportunity to review and comment on the Draft EIR.

For more information on the project, visit:

Heidi Luckenbach and Melanie Schumacher, scwd2


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