Santa Cruz regional water supply

The UCSC potable water supply system is a complex network with five metered connections to the City of Santa Cruz Water District (SCWD) system. The SCWD pumps potable water to a series of four reservoirs located at elevations ranging from 400 feet in the lower campus to approximately 1,100-feet in the upper campus. The uppermost reservoir has a capacity of 1 million gallons and serves as an emergency backup water supply for the main residential campus.

Existing water use on the main residential campus and the Westside Research Park is approximately 154 million gallons per year. The highest consumption categories include student housing (44 percent) and irrigation (28 percent).

The campus water demand represents about 6% of the total SCWD service area demand.

About 95 percent of the City’s annual water supply needs are met by surface diversions from the coastal streams and the San Lorenzo river. The SCWD provides water to nearly 100,000 customers through approximately 300 miles of pipes in the city of Santa Cruz, the campus, a portion of the unincorporated area of Santa Cruz County, and a small portion of the City of Capitola. The SCWD water service area is approximately 20 square miles in size.

The SCWD system relies entirely on rainfall, surface runoff, and groundwater infiltration occurring within watersheds located in Santa Cruz County. No water is purchased from state or federal sources or imported to the region from outside the Santa Cruz areas. The SCWD currently has four water supply sources: 1) surface water diversions from three creeks and one natural spring on the Santa Cruz County Coast; 2) surface water diversions from San Lorenzo River; 3) surface water from Loch Lomond Reservoir; 4) groundwater extracted from the Purisima Formation by the Live Oak well system.

elv 09-2021