By Melanie Mow Schumacher
Water is vital to America’s economy and our quality of life. In fact, aging infrastructure and years of deferred maintenance is catching up, and the cost of inaction could be severe. A new economic analysis for the “Value of Water Campaign” found that a one-day nationwide disruption in water service would result in $43.5 billion in losses for the economy. This is just a single day and the damage would be widespread. From hotels to hospitals, shopping centers to schools, factories to farms, and restaurants to recreational facilities – everything would shut down without water service.
Water Infrastructure for Soquel Creek Water District
Soquel Creek Water District (District) is committed to providing safe and reliable drinking water for more than 40,000 customers in Santa Cruz Mid-County region including Aptos, La Selva Beach, Opal Cliffs, Rio Del Mar, Seascape, Soquel and portions of the City of Capitola. This also includes approximately 18,000 jobs, 22 parks, and 18 schools. We carefully manage the operations of 15 production wells, 10 treatment plants, 14 pump stations, 18 tanks, 166 miles of pipeline, and over 80 monitoring wells. The investment into our infrastructure is a vital component to providing safe and reliable drinking water. Most residents and businesses do not give much thought to the invisible services we provide 24 hours a day, 365 days a year until a water main breaks or they are without water.
District Actions to Maintain and Plan for Future Infrastructure
Water Main Replacements: Our extensive system has been constructed over many years and as it ages it becomes necessary to replace or upgrade portions of the water distribution system. The Clubhouse Drive Main Replacement project is currently underway which replaces approximately 2,600 linear feet of failing water main pipe on Clubhouse Drive in Aptos between St. Andrews Drive and close to Sumner Drive. It is scheduled to be complete in October 2017.
Water Main Flushing: Water main flushing is a necessary program for water agencies to maintain high-quality water. The District’s traditional procedure included opening up fire hydrants to scour and remove the buildup in pipes that may cause discolored water and then allowing that water to run down the street and out to the sewer or storm drain systems. This method used a lot of water and the District suspended its flushing program in 2014 due to the water shortage conditions in the Mid-County region. In May 2016, the District re-initiated its Flushing Program when it began using a new, waste-free filtering system to circulate and clean the water in a closed-loop system. The water passes through filters which removes the sediment and particulates and is returned to the district’s water pipes. No water is flushed into the street!
Well Rehabilitation and Tank Maintenance: Much of our water system is nestled throughout our community near homes, parks, schools and businesses. On a day-to-day basis, our crews oversee the water production operations through computerized systems as wells as frequent site visits. In addition, the District conducts a maintenance program for our groundwater wells, treatments plants, and water storage tanks which includes replacing pumps, repairing well casings, and recoating the interior and exterior of our water tanks to ensure reliability and maximize the lifespan of our infrastructure.
Water Reliability: The District has recently completed construction of two pump stations and is designing another water tank to be able to move water back and forth between service areas. In addition, we plan to install a second water transmission main to serve La Selva Beach, creating redundancy and increasing water reliability.
As always, if you have any questions about this month’s topic, our Community Water Plan, or anything else related to Soquel Creek Water District, feel free to contact Melanie Mow Schumacher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 831-475-8501 x153 and visit.