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PRESS RELEASE: Soquel-Aptos Groundwater Management Committee Expands Partnerships to Manage Critically Overdrafted Groundwater Basin

SOQUEL, Calif. [September 9, 2015] –  While local efforts to collaborate and move forward with implementation of statewide regulations for sustainable groundwater management in the mid-county area continue, a recently proposed reclassification of the Soquel-Valley Groundwater Basin to critically overdrafted status has the potential to move up several important deadlines.  The Soquel-Valley Groundwater Basin was identified by the Department of Water Resources (DWR) in July 2015 as one of 21 water basins proposed to be reclassified as critically overdrafted on the basis of the seawater intrusion detected at the coastline and Soquel Creek Water District’s declaration of a groundwater emergency in 2014.  Basins classified as being in critical overdraft must officially adopt a Groundwater Sustainability Plan by 2020 and achieve sustainability by 2040.  DWR is currently accepting comments on this proposed reclassification through September 25, 2015.

At the August 20th Soquel-Aptos Groundwater Management Committee (SAGMC) meeting, the City and County of Santa Cruz officially joined the Central Water District and Soquel Creek Water District as partner agencies overseeing groundwater management activities.  The SAGMC committee also selected three private well representatives to participate and bring added value to discussions, decisions, and oversight of groundwater issues since the basin is shared by municipal agencies and private well pumpers.  The committee representatives now include:

  •  Central Water District: John Benich and Bob Postle
  •  City of Santa Cruz: Cynthia Mathews and Micah Posner
  •  County of Santa Cruz: Zach Friend and John Leopold
  •  Soquel Creek Water District: Bruce Jaffe and Tom LaHue
  •  Private Wells:  Curt Abramson, Jon Kennedy , and Jim Kerr

The committee, formerly known as the Basin Implementation Group, was originally established in 1995, and included five members: two elected officials from Soquel Creek Water District, two elected officials from Central Water District, and one private well representative.  Now, the committee is comprised of eleven members focused on developing a groundwater model of the Soquel-Aptos area basin and meeting requirements of the new Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The Act, passed in 2014, mandates that groundwater basins in California reach sustainability by 2040-2042.

“We are very pleased that the City and County have joined the committee in an ‘official’ capacity as the agencies have been collaborating with data collection and other groundwater management activities over the years,” said Bruce Jaffe, Chair of the Committee.   “In addition, with the expansion of private well representation, we have a very diverse set of basin users coming together to collectively address the groundwater issues in the Mid-County region.”

The SAGMC’s next meeting is Thursday, September 17 at 7PM at the Capitola Community Room (420 Capitola Avenue, Capitola). All meetings are open to the public. For more information on the Committee, meeting dates, minutes, and agendas, please visit .

The Soquel-Aptos Groundwater Management Committee is a joint exercise of powers entity (pursuant to California Government Code Section 6500 et. seq) with interest in groundwater management within the area known regionally as the Soquel-Aptos Groundwater Basin and whose duties include, but aren’t limited to, undertaking ongoing and comprehensive efforts to collect, maintain, and share groundwater data; undertake cooperative research and resource management initiatives; jointly pursue groundwater management grants and studies; and facilitate meeting the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.