11 ways you can make a difference during the drought in Santa Cruz County
We’re now in a drought of historic proportions. As of last month, 94% of California is reported to be in a “severe” (or worse) drought condition, while 73% of the state is in the even worse “extreme” drought category – and that includes right here in the mid-county area.
The lack of rain this past winter/spring is not an anomaly — it’s climate change, which is likely to continue to bring more extreme weather events in the future. With this ‘new normal’ in mind, it’s important to remember that droughts may be followed by rainy (or even extra-rainy) season — but another drought is likely lurking just around the corner.
Not only is drought preparedness a factor; seawater contamination of the groundwater supply is also a challenge. That’s why Soquel Creek Water District is taking measures now to ensure a reliable, drought-proof water supply, with our Pure Water Soquel groundwater replenishment project. At the same time, everyone should do their part to reduce their water use and contribute to the health and sustainability of the mid-coast groundwater basin that we all share.
If you’re already conserving to the max, thanks for being a water-saving hero!
Apply these 11 water-saving tools and make a difference:
- Toilet flushing is the largest single source of indoor water use (up to about 30 percent of water used inside the home). If not already done, replace your old water-wasting toilet with a new high-efficiency model. And, consider flushing fewer times a day.
- Install water-efficient showerheads, which can use as little as 1.8 gallons per minute. Then save another 1.8 gallons for every minute you shorten your shower time.
- The same goes for your faucets when you install water-efficient aerators. Save even more by turning off the tap when shaving, brushing your teeth, and washing dishes.
- A small water leak can cause big problems! A slow leak of 10 drips per minute will waste up to 30 gallons per month. A fast leak of 120 drips per minute wastes up to a whopping 350 gallons per month – so fix those leaks.
- Irrigate your landscape efficiently with drip systems or high-efficiency rotor-type nozzles; all hoses should have a shut-off nozzle. Replace turf with low-water-use plants.
- Replace your standard irrigation controller with a smart irrigation controller that optimizes your water savings.
- Inspect your irrigation system and fix leaks, pipe breaks, and clogged or missing emitters.
- Add a 3-inch layer of mulch to your planting beds to reduce water loss from evaporation (and help keep down weeds).
- Never use water to clean sidewalks or driveways – use a broom!
- Use Watersmart. District customers can access our WaterSmart Customer Portal online for maximum control over water use and billing, including leak detection and notification, water use and billing alerts, bill payment, connecting to water-saving opportunities, conservation resources, and more. District customers can visit soquelcreekwater.org/watersmart for more information and to register for this free online service.
- Learn about Pure Water Soquel. The severe drought highlights the importance of the District’s Pure Water Soquel supplemental water supply project. Right now, seawater is starting to contaminate the already-overdrafted Mid-County Groundwater Basin, which is the District’s sole source of drinking water (shared by Santa Cruz, Central Water District, and thousands of private well owners).
Pure Water Soquel, now under construction, will take recycled water from the Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility and put it through a state-of-the-science advanced water purification process, producing clean water of near-distilled quality.
That purified water will then be pumped underground to replenish the basin, creating a barrier to prevent further seawater contamination of the groundwater. This same process is used by other water districts in California and throughout the US. Pure Water Soquel’s new drought-proof and climate change-proof supplemental water supply will be available in just a few short years.
Visit: soquelcreekwater.org/PWSconstruction for information about ongoing and upcoming construction for Pure Water Soquel, including maps and schedules, and to sign up for email construction updates.