Santa Cruz project pause leaves Soquel district quandry

The decision of Santa Cruz City Council on 8 October 2013 to halt all practical progress on its proposed seawater desalination plant has left its partner in the project, Soquel Creek Water District (SCWD) looking for alternatives.

One of these could be the DeepWater Desal proposal in nearby Moss Landing, which was passed over for supply to the Monterey peninsula in favour of the California American Water Regional Desalination Project.

The Santa Cruz council accepted a proposal by councilman Don Lane to halt work on the initial environmental impact report for the desalination plant, effectively stopping progress on the project. Instead the council will start a new process to review all alternatives for ensuring its future water supply, before desalination will be even considered.

SCWD, meanwhile, is now looking for a Plan B, which could either be the DeepWater proposal or even its own desalination plant. The situation is due for review at a 15 October 2013 board meeting.