City of Santa Cruz and Soquel Creek Water District
Proposed scwd2 Regional Seawater Desalination Project
a handbook for the Draft Environmental Impact Report
“Economic vitality, environmental health, and quality
of life depend on sufficient, safe, and reliable
water supplies. Addressing water shortages in our
community is challenging and complex.”
—Laura Brown, Retired General Manager, Soquel Creek Water District
Table of Contents
01 | INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 04
What is the proposed project and the purpose of this
guide? Why has an environmental document been
06 | ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED PROJECT . . . . 24
What alternatives to the proposed project are considered in the
Draft EIR and how do they compare?
02 | PROJECT BACKGROUND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 06
What agencies are involved in the proposed project?
07 | ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW PROCESS . . . . . . . . . . 28
How does the process work and what is involved?
Why is the proposed project needed?
03 | PROJECT OBJECTIVES
AND DESCRIPTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
08 | COMMENTING ON THE DRAFT EIR . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
What is the public review period? How can I submit comments?
What are the objectives of the proposed project?
What are the components of the proposed project and
how would it be operated?
09 | NEXT STEPS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
What is the timeline for the proposed project?
What Agencies are involved with project approvals and permitting?
04 | PROJECT ENVIRONMENTAL
ANALYSIS SUMMARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
What are the key environmental effects of the proposed
project and how are they being minimized? 10 | GLOSSARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Glossary of terms used in this document
05 | COMPARISON OF COMPONENT
ALTERNATIVES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
How were the component alternatives for the proposed
project identified and how do they compare?
01 | Introduction
What is the proposed project and the purpose of this guide? Why has an environmental
document been prepared?
PURPOSE OF THE PROPOSED PROJECT: Both the City of Santa Cruz (City) WHY HAS AN EIR BEEN PREPARED? The California Environmental Quality
and Soquel Creek Water District (District) have conducted extensive Act (CEQA) requires an EIR be prepared for this proposed project . Under
evaluations of their water needs and available sources, and are pursuing CEQA, every development proposed project that requires a discretionary
integrated approaches to water supply planning that include conservation governmental approval requires some level of environmental review .
programs and curtailment (or cutbacks) of water during periods of The EIR is an informational tool used by governing bodies, permitting
drought . In addition to these conservation and curtailment programs, agencies, and the community to understand the environmental
the City and District have also identified the need for a supplemental consequences of the proposed project . The EIR identifies the significant
supply of water . The City and District independently analyzed several effects of the proposed project on the environment and considers
alternatives and decided to pursue seawater desalination as a source of feasible alternatives or mitigation measures to substantially lessen or
supplemental supply . eliminate the significant environmental effects .
The first step in the EIR process, called scoping, allowed the public
The City and District are jointly evaluating the proposed scwd2 Regional
and interested parties to help define the issues and alternatives to be
Seawater Desalination Project (proposed project) that, along with
evaluated in the EIR . During the scoping period, the public provided input
conservation, would address water supply shortages by supplementing
on the environmental topics, potential effects, mitigation measures,
existing supplies by up to 2 .5 million gallons per day .
and alternatives to be analyzed in the EIR . Following scoping, technical
and environmental studies were conducted to inform and complete the
PURPOSE OF THE COMMUNITY GUIDE: Over the next several months, the Draft EIR .
communities served by the City and District will be participating in the
For a more detailed look at the environmental review process,
public review process for the Draft Environmental Impact Report (Draft
see SECTION 7 of this guide .
EIR) . The Draft EIR contains a large volume of information and complex
analyses . This community guide is intended to provide a summary and
overview of the proposed project and key elements of the environmental
analysis provided in the Draft EIR, including environmental design Public comments must address the contents of the Draft EIR
features, mitigation measures, and feasible alternatives . The guide also and not the contents of this community guide. Readers who
provides information about the environmental review process and how would like to review all of the information contained within the
to provide comments on the Draft EIR (see SECTION 7 of this guide) . Draft EIR should review a copy online at www .scwd2desal .org
or at one of the locations listed on page 30 .
“We have conducted a thorough analysis to identify and
evaluate any environmental effects of the proposed project
so that policy makers, community members, and other
stakeholders can be informed and able to participate in the
environmental review process.”
—Heidi Luckenbach, scwd2 Desalination Program Coordinator
02 | Project Background
What agencies are involved in the proposed project? Why is the proposed project needed?
CITY OF SANTA CRUZ CURRENT LEVELS OF GROUNDWATER PUMPING ARE UNSUSTAINABLE:
The City’s water system relies entirely on rainfall, Groundwater pumping from the City’s Live Oak wells, along with other
runoff, and groundwater within watersheds located groundwater pumping in the aquifer, is not sustainable . Groundwater
in Santa Cruz County; and no water is imported pumping in the Soquel-Aptos area has resulted in a slow but continuous
from outside the Santa Cruz area (such as from the drop in groundwater levels . This unsustainable level of groundwater
State Water project) . As a result, the City’s system extraction threatens future supplies and increases the risk of seawater
is vulnerable to shortage in dry years . intrusion, which could cause irreversible contamination of the
groundwater supply . Seawater intrusion is the movement of seawater
Three primary factors create significant challenges for the City to into freshwater aquifers which can lead to contamination of drinking
provide adequate water supply now and in the future: water supplies . See further discussion about groundwater pumping for
DEMAND EXCEEDS SUPPLY IN DRY YEARS: While the City usually has
the District on pages 8-9 .
adequate supplies to meet demand in wet and normal years, water In addition to these main factors, climate change and pending water
supplies fall short of demand levels in dry years . Low surface flows in rights and entitlements could also result in a decrease in long-term
North Coast streams and the San Lorenzo River coupled with depleted water supply .
surface water storage in Loch Lomond Reservoir reduces the available
supply to a level that cannot support existing demand, causing
water shortages .
THE CITY IS BEING REQUIRED TO REDUCE SURFACE WATER DIVERSIONS:
The City relies on local rivers and streams, important habitat for protected
steelhead trout and coho salmon, for over 80 percent of its water supply .
The City is in the process of developing a Habitat Conservation Plan
Why is the proposed project needed for the City?
(HCP) with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and National
Marine Fisheries Service (fisheries agencies) to obtain permits under Water supply falls short in dry years (drought conditions)
the state and federal Endangered Species Acts . As part of this plan, the
City needs to significantly reduce the amount of water it has historically More water needs to be left in streams and rivers
diverted from North Coast streams and the San Lorenzo River to provide to protect threatened and endangered fish and their habitat
more water for steelhead trout and coho salmon . The HCP will require
Groundwater supply is at-risk of being contaminated
the City to reduce reliance on its flowing sources . This, combined with
the City’s ongoing vulnerability to water supply shortages, is a primary
factor driving the need for an additional water supply .
6 Project Background
City and District Water Service Areas THE SANTA CRUZ WATER DEPARTMENT is a municipal utility
that is owned and operated by the City . The City provides
water service to an area of approximately 20 square miles
in size, including the entire City of Santa Cruz, adjoining
unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County, a small part
of the City of Capitola, and coastal agricultural lands north
of the City .
THE SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT is a local government
agency that provides potable water service and groundwater
resource management within its service area . The District’s
service area encompasses seven miles of shoreline along
Monterey Bay, and extends from one to three miles
inland into the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains,
essentially following the County Urban Services Line .
The District serves portions of the City of Capitola and the
unincorporated communities of Aptos, La Selva Beach, Rio
Del Mar, Seascape, Seacliff Beach, and Soquel .
While both agencies have made ongoing and
new conservations programs a priority and have
investigated numerous alternatives, a supplemental
water supply is still needed .
San Lorenzo River: One of the Sells Well Site: Soquel Creek Water Loch Lomond Reservoir: Built in Cornwell Tank: One of Soquel Creek
City’s surface water sources District relies solely on groundwater 1960 for the City of Santa Cruz Water District’s 18 storage tanks
Project Background 7
Based on nearly a century of hydrologic data, the City could experience A number of water supply alternatives were investigated during a
some water shortage approximately every 2-3 years, with shortages that lengthy public planning process and only one was determined to be
could be as high as 39% in the near term and up to 46% in the long-term . viable: a seawater desalination plant . The IWP specifically identified
These figures include reductions in customer demand through ongoing the need for a desalination plant with a capacity of 2 .5 mgd, with the
and new conservation programs . Depending on the outcome of the HCP ability to expand the plant to 4 .5 mgd to meet future needs . Because
development process, shortages could be substantially higher than those the needs of the City and District are complimentary, the City elected to
reported above . Water shortages above 35% are considered by the City partner with the District to further investigate a seawater desalination
to be a Stage 5 Critical Emergency that could threaten the health, safety plant as a supplemental water supply project . This cooperative 2 .5 mgd
and security of the community, as well as lead to substantial economic supplemental supply project constitutes the proposed project being
impacts to the area . evaluated in the EIR .
The City has been engaged in extensive planning over the past 25 years SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT
to address these water supply issues . The City’s adopted Integrated The District relies entirely on groundwater from
Water Plan (IWP) calls for a diverse strategy that includes increased the Soquel-Aptos area, which is currently being
conservation and up to 15% curtailment (or cutbacks) of water in dry pumped at an unsustainable rate and is in a state of overdraft . This
years . The City’s per capita water usage rate is nearly half of the means that more water is pumped out through wells than is replenished
average rate for California and among the lowest reported . Additional by rainfall seeping deep underground into the aquifers . If the total
conservation measures were determined to be insufficient to prevent groundwater extraction from the District and other pumpers (including
severe water shortages in dry years . As a result, a supplemental water the City, the Central Water District, mutual water companies, and private
supply has been identified as a necessary element of the City’s water well owners) continues at the current rate, the groundwater levels will
planning strategy . be too low to protect against seawater intrusion . This condition could
worsen with predicted effects from climate change . Changing water
quality requirements may also affect the use of a portion of the District’s
groundwater sources .
The District, as the primary aquifer user, needs to reduce its groundwater
pumping substantially and allow the basin to naturally recover to protect
the aquifer from seawater intrusion . Similar to the City, water usage rates
in the District already reflect substantial efforts in water conservation,
and the District is continually advancing water conservation strategies .
However, in addition to forecasted conservation savings, the District
must reduce its groundwater pumping by approximately one-third (1,500
acre-feet or 489 million gallons per year) to recover the groundwater
The City has been engaged in extensive planning in collaboration with the basin . Without a supplemental supply, this would require year-round
public over the past 25 years.
cutbacks of approximately 35% for at least 20 years .
8 Project Background
Given the groundwater overdraft conditions in the Soquel-Aptos area,
Why is the proposed project needed for the District? the District has been actively pursuing a supplemental water supply,
along with conservation and groundwater management measures .
Over the last 20 years, a number of supply alternatives have been
Sole reliance on a shared groundwater basin that is being
evaluated during public planning processes and were determined not
overpumped at an unsustainable rate
to be viable .The District’s adopted 2012 Integrated Resources Plan (IRP)
Groundwater supply is at-risk of being contaminated Update includes, but is not limited to, development of conservation
by seawater and demand management programs, drought curtailment, and
proactive groundwater management, as well as further evaluation
of water exchanges and a cooperative 2 .5 mgd supplemental water
What is Seawater Intrusion? supply project identified as the proposed desalination project .
Healthy coastal aquifer scwd2 DESALINATION PROGRAM
The City and District have partnered to develop
and implement the scwd2 Desalination Program .
The scwd2 Desalination Program is overseen
by a Joint Task Force formed by the City and District (comprised of
two City Council Members and two District Board Members) to
provide direction on the evaluation of the proposed project . The City
and District have partnered to undertake the environmental review
for the proposed scwd2 Desalination Program . The proposed program
includes construction and operation of a seawater reverse osmosis
(SWRO) desalination plant and related facilities to provide up to 2 .5
Coastal aquifer contaminated by seawater mgd of water . The plant could be expanded to 4 .5 mgd to meet future
needs; however, additional environmental review, approvals, and
permits would need to be pursued to allow for such an expansion .
The City and District propose to cooperatively operate the desalination
plant to cost-effectively share the resource and meet the different
objectives and needs of the two agencies . The District would have
priority use of the desalination plant during the wet months of the year
to help supplement water demand needs while reducing groundwater
pumping . The City would have priority use during the dry months .
Seawater intrusion is the movement of seawater into
freshwater aquifers which can lead to contamination
of drinking water supplies.
Project Background 9
03 | Project Objectives and Description
What are the objectives of the proposed project? What are the components of the proposed
project and how would it be operated?
The overarching goal of the proposed project is to allow both • Effectively meets future changed conditions and ensures
agencies to continue to provide safe and reliable water to the accommodation of planned growth
communities served by the City and District . • Avoids or minimizes significant environmental impacts
• Does not increase greenhouse gas emissions
The specific objectives of the proposed project are summarized below . The
objectives address the need for a supplemental water supply as identified • Is relatively cost-effective
by the City IWP and the District IRP . The complete description of the project
objectives can be found in SECTION 1 .3 of the Draft EIR .
• Provide for a supplemental water supply in a timely manner that meets
the agencies’ water supply program objectives for both near-term and
• Allow the City to reduce its surface water withdrawals and provide
operational flexibility as more water is required in local streams and
rivers to protect threatened and endangered species
• Provide the District with a supplemental water supply to protect the
groundwater basin and reduce the potential for seawater intrusion
• Protect the local economy and community from the effects of an uncertain
water supply due to the consequences of drought or contamination of
the groundwater by seawater intrusion
• Plan for climate change and be consistent with the City’s Climate
• Provide a supplemental water supply that:
• Has regional benefits and promotes efficient use of resources
• Is readily available, drought-proof, avoids risk and/or uncertainty
10 Project Objectives and Description
PROJECT COMPONENTS • Brine storage and disposal – the byproduct of reverse osmosis
The proposed project consists of many different components, all of filtration is concentrated seawater that is typically twice as salty
which work together to meet the objectives of the proposed project . The as ambient seawater and requires appropriate dilution prior to
components of the proposed project consist of: disposal back to the ocean, as further described below . Storage of
the brine in tanks on the plant site is needed to regulate the flow
1 . SEAWATER INTAKE SYSTEM: A seawater intake and conveyance system and dilution rate of the brine
consisting of an intake structure, intake pipeline, pump station, and
• Support facilities associated with the plant components
transfer piping . The EIR evaluates eight location alternatives for the
intake . Only one of these location alternatives would be implemented .
Preliminary architectural rendering, as shown on page 16 shows how
2 . SEAWATER DESALINATION PLANT: The EIR evaluates three location the proposed project could be designed to blend in with existing
alternatives for the seawater desalination plant . Only one of these surroundings .
location alternatives would be implemented . A seawater desalination
plant would include: 3 . BRINE DISPOSAL SYSTEM: The concentrated seawater, or brine,
resulting from the reverse osmosis process would be mixed with the
• Pretreatment of seawater to remove debris and solids
effluent from the City’s existing Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF)
• Residuals handling and disposal of the solids that are removed in so the combined effluent (treated wastewater plus brine) would have
pre-treatment similar salinity levels as ocean water to avoid any potential effects on
• Reverse osmosis filtration to remove dissolved salts and minerals the marine environment . To achieve this mixing, new facilities would
–achieved by forcing the pre-treated water through membrane be needed to store and convey the brine to the WWTF outfall, which
filters at high pressure would be modified to appropriately dispose of the brine .
• Energy recovery devices to capture and reuse energy from the high
4 . POTABLE WATER SYSTEM IMPROVEMENTS: New facilities to pump
pressure filtration process
and convey the desalinated water to the existing water distribution
• Post-treatment conditioning systems would be needed . These would consist of a new connection
prior to delivery to the to the City’s distribution system and a new intertie system between
domestic water distribution the City and District service areas, including new pipelines and pump
system to comply with station improvements .
public health regulations
and to protect distribution 5 . ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN FEATURES: Environmental design,
systems against corrosion construction, and operational features consisting of measures that
would be implemented to avoid, reduce, or minimize potential
• Systems to store and deliver
Seawater is pumped through environmental effects that might occur in the absence of such elements .
chemicals used in treatment membranes which remove salt and let Key environmental design features are identified in SECTION 4 .
process fresh water pass through
Project Objectives and Description 11
04 | Project Environmental
What are the key environmental effects of the proposed project and how are they being minimized?
When a project is subject to CEQA and requires preparation of an EIR,
agencies responsible for implementing CEQA (Lead Agencies), such as the
City and District, are required to evaluate the project by:
Identifying the significant environmental effects of their
Avoiding or mitigating those significant environmental effects,
where feasible; and/or
Presenting feasible alternatives that lessen the significant
effects while still achieving most of the primary objectives
of the proposed project .
The use of solar panels will provide renewable energy and reduce the
carbon footprint of the proposed project. Based on the CEQA Guidelines, the IWP Program EIR, and the
outcome of the scoping process performed in 2010-2011 (see the
Environmental Review Process below), the Draft EIR addresses the
The basic intent of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) following environmental resource topics in detail .
is to develop, maintain and enhance a high-quality environment for
California residents and visitors, and to avoid environmental damage; • Hydrology and Water Quality • Cultural Resources
while providing for a decent living environment . CEQA focuses primarily
• Marine Biological Resources • Utilities and Service Systems
on physical effects on the environment and excludes social or economic
effects . Through its formal and structured public review process, CEQA • Terrestrial Biological Resources
gives agencies and community members an opportunity to consider • Land Use, Planning, & Recreation • Aesthetics
and provide comment on the environmental consequences of the • Hazards and Hazardous Materials
• Air Quality and Climate
proposed project .
(includes Greenhouse Gases) • Traffic and Transportation
• Noise and Vibration • Growth Impacts
• Geology and Soils • Cumulative Impacts
12 Project Environmental Analysis Summary
For each topic, the Draft EIR describes the existing environmental The following provides a summary of the environmental impacts
setting and regulatory framework, evaluates potential impacts based on associated with these topics and the recommended approach for
the proposed project description and its incorporation of environmental reducing or avoiding these impacts .
design features, and recommends mitigation measures that could reduce
or avoid potentially significant impacts . The environmental analysis also MARINE WATER QUALITY
describes any distinctions between the three alternative desalination
plant sites and eight alternative seawater intake sites being considered FIND OUT Section 5 .1, Hydrology and Water Quality &
for the proposed project . MORE IN Appendix J, Dilution Analysis for Brine Disposal Via
THE EIR Ocean Outfall
During public scoping, the community voiced concerns over
a number of environmental topics and raised questions on how OVERVIEW: The analysis of marine water quality impacts focuses on
the City and District intended to resolve these concerns . This whether the brine discharge could meet regulatory requirements
Community Guide summarizes key conclusions and for water quality and not exceed existing salinity of the ocean . The
environmental impacts for these areas of community interest: proposed project would dilute the brine from the desalination process
with the City’s WWTF effluent prior to discharge through the existing
• Marine water quality WWTF outfall to avoid adverse effects of elevated salinity on the
• Marine biological resources marine environment . In addition, the analysis examines the effects
on marine water quality during construction of offshore components .
• Terrestrial biological resources
• Greenhouse gas emissions and climate change IMPACTS: With the implementation of environmental design features,
the brine discharge from operation of the proposed project via the
existing WWTF ocean outfall would not violate water quality standards,
• Water supply quality and the salinity of the discharge would be similar to existing ocean
• Growth conditions .Temporary marine water quality effects during construction
are minimized through mitigation measures .
Brine from the desalination process would be diluted with treated
wastewater already being sent out to the Bay, resulting in a blend that
closer matches existing ocean salinity.
Project Environmental Analysis Summary 13
ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN FEATURES
• Brine would be blended with less salty water coming from MARINE BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES
the existing WWTF to dilute the brine to match existing ocean
FIND OUT Section 5 .2, Marine Biological Resources &
MORE IN Appendix G, Open Ocean Intake Effects Study
• Storage of brine at the desalination plant would control the rate THE EIR
of discharge to account for fluctuations in flows from the WWTF
• New valves on the existing discharge ports of the WWTF outfall OVERVIEW: A new intake system
would help spread the combined effluent along the entire and piping would deliver
diffuser length providing for improved mixing and better control seawater to the desalination
of flow rates plant for treatment . Piping
would be drilled below ground
• Automatic control devices and monitoring would ensure proper
from a location onshore to
blending of the brine
the intake location offshore . A
• Underground tunneling for the installation of the seawater screen would be attached to the
intake pipelines would avoid beach and bluff construction and offshore end of the pipe . At the
minimize sediment and turbidity in the marine environment onshore end, a pump station
MITIGATION MEASURES would be constructed to draw Small slot-size screens and slow intake
• A construction drilling-fluids management plan for seawater the water through the screened velocity would reduce impacts to marine
intake pipeline tunneling would minimize water quality effects opening, and to deliver the water
from potential release of fluids during tunneling (Mitigation to the desalination plant . The analysis of marine biological resources
Measure 5 .1-2a) focuses on what happens when marine organisms are drawn along with
the ocean water through the screen and through the filtration process
• Marine construction best management practices would
– an effect known as “entrainment” Also, the Draft EIR analyzes the
minimize turbidity (Mitigation Measure 5 .1-2b)
potential for organisms to get trapped or pinned on the outside of the
screens – an effect known as “impingement”The Draft EIR also examines
potential effects of the brine discharge and temporary construction on
marine life and environments .
IMPACT: With the implementation of environmental design features,
the operation of the proposed seawater intake system and brine
discharge via the existing WWTF ocean outfall would not: (1) have a
substantial adverse effect on special-status or other marine species; (2)
substantially reduce the habitat of a fish or wildlife species; (3) cause
a fish or wildlife population to drop below self-sustaining levels; or (4)
threaten to eliminate a plant or animal community . Construction-phase
14 Project Environmental Analysis Summary
impacts on marine life and habitat due to temporary water quality ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN FEATURES
effects, underwater construction noise, and the placement of the intake • Provide intake screens with small (2mm) openings and low
structure are minimized through mitigation measures . These effects are through-screen velocity consistent with regulatory guidelines
further described below . • Brine would be blended with less salty water coming from the
Entrainment and Impingement Impacts: A year-long Open Ocean Intake existing WWTF to dilute the brine to match ocean salinity
Effects Study was conducted for the proposed project to understand • Storage of brine at the desalination plant would control the rate
the impact to marine life of entrainment . The study concluded that the of discharge to account for fluctuations in flows from the WWTF
proposed project could cause the white croaker (the most abundant • New valves on the existing discharge ports of the WWTF outfall
species collected) to have a potential loss of up to one female fish’s would help spread the combined effluent along the entire diffuser
lifetime reproductive capacity each year . This would be an extremely length providing for improved mixing and better control of flow rates
small amount and represents far less mortality than that resulting
• Automatic control devices and monitoring would ensure proper
from other natural sources and human activities, such as commercial
blending of the brine
or recreational fishing . The intake screens would further reduce the
entrainment by excluding organisms greater than the 2mm screen • Underground tunneling for the installation of the seawater intake
openings, including adult and juvenile fish, and some of the larger pipelines would avoid beach, bluff, and intertidal construction
larvae of fish and invertebrate species . Additionally, because the flow and minimize sediment and turbidity in the marine environment
rate through the screens would be relatively low, the risk of organisms
getting trapped or pinned on the outside of the screen is extremely low,
as confirmed by extensive monitoring of a test screen .
Brine Discharge Impacts: As described above for marine water quality,
the discharge of brine would not increase salinity of the ocean above
existing conditions and would not exceed other water quality standards
and objectives . Therefore, no adverse effects on marine life would result
from the brine discharge .
Construction Impacts: The intake would be placed far enough offshore
to be beyond the kelp forests offshore of Santa Cruz . The pipeline to
the intake would be tunneled underground to avoid construction in
kelp forests, tidal beach, and bluff areas . Construction-phase impacts
on marine life and habitat due to temporary water quality effects,
underwater construction noise, and the placement of the intake structure New valves on the existing wastewater outfall discharge ports would
are minimized through mitigation measures . ensure mixing of the combined wastewater effluent/brine discharge.
Project Environmental Analysis Summary 15
• Construction-phase mitigation measures include the same TERRESTRIAL BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES
measures noted above for marine water quality impacts
FIND OUT Section 5 .3, Terrestrial Biological Resources
(Mitigation Measures 5 .1-2a and 5 .1-2b)
MORE IN Appendix R, Biotic Resources Survey Report
• The effects of underwater construction noise on special-status and THE EIR Appendix S, Monarch Butterfly Habitat Assessment
other marine life due to particular construction activities would
be controlled through the preparation and implementation of a OVERVIEW: The new on-shore structures and buildings for the proposed
hydroacoustic (underwater noise) monitoring plan (Mitigation project would be located on parcels within the City of Santa Cruz that
Measure 5 .2-4) .This measure would apply only to certain seawater are either already developed or are within and surrounded by existing
intake sites (SI-4, SI-5, SI-7, SI-14, SI-16, and SI-17) developed areas . New on-shore underground piping would be located
• A pre-construction survey of the selected intake location will primarily in existing paved public roads in the City, County, and
identify the precise site for the intake structure and areas to Capitola alongside other existing utilities such as water, wastewater,
avoid during construction . The placement of the seawater intake power, and telecommunication lines . The approach evaluated whether
structure would avoid kelp forest habitat through the use of the construction of the proposed facilities would have a substantial
such a survey . (Mitigation Measure 5 .2-5) . This measure would adverse effect on: special-status terrestrial or freshwater aquatic
apply only to certain seawater intake sites (SI-4, SI-5, SI-7, SI-14, species; sensitive habitat; protected wetlands; wildlife movement; and/
and SI-16) or resources protected by local policies, such as heritage trees .
Design features of the intake
would reduce impacts
on marine life to far less
mortality than that resulting
from other natural sources
and human activities,
such as commercial or
recreational fishing. An artist rendering of a potential option for the desalination plant exterior: The landscaping
at the desalination site would include butterfly nectar plants to provide foraging resources for
butterflies and other beneficial insect species.
16 Project Environmental Analysis Summary
IMPACT: The proposed project would not result in substantial adverse
effects to protected wetlands . With the implementation of identified
ENERGY, GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS,
mitigation measures, construction of the proposed on-shore facilities & CLIMATE CHANGE
would not have substantial adverse effects on: state and federal special-
FIND OUT Section 5 .5, Air Quality and Climate (for discussion of
status species, migratory birds; riparian habitat; or heritage trees . No
MORE IN GHGs and climate change), Section 5 .9, Utilities and
significant impacts to butterfly overwintering habitat related to tree
THE EIR Service Systems (for discussion of energy), Appendix
removal would occur at Sites A-1 or A-3 . If Plant Site A-2 is selected, the
O, Summary of Energy and GHG Reduction Approach,
removal of on-site trees could result in a substantial adverse effect to
Appendix T, Air Quality and Climate Calculations
monarch butterfly overwintering habitat in Natural Bridges State Beach,
if these trees provide a secondary wind break to that habitat .
OVERVIEW: The energy requirement of seawater desalination and
ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN FEATURES associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are among the key
• The landscaping at the desalination plant site would include community and stakeholder
butterfly nectar plants to provide foraging resources for butterflies issues in the evaluation of the
and other beneficial insect species proposed project . The approach
MITIGATION MEASURES to the analysis of energy impacts
• Pre-construction surveys would be conducted and protection from the proposed project
measures implemented for special-status species, including involves evaluating whether the
Central California Coast steelhead, California red-legged frog, proposed project would require
foothill yellow-legged frog, San Francisco dusky-footed woodrat, new or expanded energy
and special-status and migratory birds (Mitigation Measures generation or transmission
5 .3-1a through 5 .3-1d and 5 .3-5) facilities or conflict with existing
energy standards . The approach
• Riparian setbacks shall be implemented per the City-Wide Creeks
to the analysis of GHG impacts
and Wetland Management Plan methodology and measures to
from the proposed project
protect riparian areas during construction shall be implemented
involves evaluating whether
in areas adjacent or in riparian areas (Mitigation Measures 5 .3-2a
the GHG emissions would
through 5 .3-2c)
have an adverse effect on the
• To the extent feasible trees shall be retained at Plant Site A-2 . environment or conflict with an
An arborist report shall be prepared to protect any trees retained applicable plan or regulation
onsite from damage during construction . (Mitigation Measure intended to reduce GHG
5 .3-3a and 5 .3-6) emissions . Energy recovery devices allow for reuse
of energy at the desalination plant.
• Any trees removed on Plant Site A-2 shall be replaced in such a
way as to minimize loss of any potential wind protection to the
monarch butterfly roosting area at Natural Bridges State Beach
(Mitigation Measure 5 .3-3b) Project Environmental Analysis Summary 17
IMPACT: With the implementation of environmental design features, the
proposed project would not result in substantial adverse effects related to WATER SUPPLY QUALITY
energy use or GHG emissions, as the proposed project would not result in the
FIND OUT Section 5 .1, Hydrology and Water Quality
need for new or expanded energy supplies or distribution facilities, would not
MORE IN Appendix D, Final Seawater Reverse
conflict with applicable energy standards, and would not result in a net increase
THE EIR Osmosis Desalination Pilot Test Program
in GHG emissions .
Report & Appendices
The City and District have made a commitment that the operation of
the proposed project would be net carbon neutral which would result OVERVIEW: Seawater from Monterey Bay would be pretreated,
in no net increase in GHG emissions . desalted using seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) treatment,
and conditioned for the existing drinking water system at the
proposed desalination plant producing up to 2 .5 million gallons
ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN FEATURES
per day (mgd) of potable drinking water . A desalination pilot
• High-efficiency energy recovery devices would allow for reuse of energy
program was implemented to test and evaluate alternative
at the desalination plant
treatment systems . The results of the pilot program were used
• High-efficiency pumps and motors would reduce energy requirements to determine whether drinking water standards could be reliably
• SWRO membrane configuration would meet water quality goals while met . In addition, the pilot program determined whether a new
minimizing system energy requirements source of desalinated potable water would adversely affect the
• Compliance with the City’s Green Building Program, which includes water quality of the existing treated water supply .
concepts common to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental IMPACT: The City of Santa Cruz undertook a comprehensive pilot
Design (LEED) program, would allow the proposed project to meet plant test program from 2008 to 2009 to evaluate alternative
established energy sustainability goals treatment systems for a seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO)
• Commitment to net carbon neutral operations would result in no net desalination plant and to analyze the water quality of potable
increase in GHG emissions . This would be achieved through the above water produced from the seawater offshore of Santa Cruz . Based
features and the pursuit of one of two options for offsetting the net on the Pilot Study Report and subsequent evaluation conducted
increase in GHG emissions, including a portfolio of energy and GHG for the Preliminary Design Report, the pre-treatment process
reducing proposed projects and actions, or the purchase of certified chosen would consist of rapid mixing, dissolved air flotation
GHG offsets (DAF) units and pressurized microfiltration/ultrafiltration (MF/UF)
• Energy Minimization and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan would be membranes . This pretreatment process was selected because it
implemented to ensure that the net carbon neutral objective of the is the most reliable under all anticipated water quality conditions .
proposed project is achieved on a long-term basis . The DAF process causes organic and inorganic material in raw
seawater, such as algae, to coagulate and float to the surface
for easy removal . After pre-treatment, reverse osmosis filtration
18 Project Environmental Analysis Summary
would be used to remove dissolved salts and other impurities . Reverse
osmosis involves forcing water at very high pressures through a series GROWTH
of membranes with pore sizes small enough to exclude salts and other
FIND OUT Section 6, Growth
minerals, resulting in highly purified product water . The addition of
potable water from the proposed project to the water supply distribution
system would not have adverse effects on water supply quality, as the
pilot study demonstrated that potable water from the desalination
OVERVIEW: Typically, a proposed project is considered growth-inducing
plant would meet all regulatory drinking water standards . Compliance
if it encourages growth or a concentration of population in excess of
monitoring required of all public water systems would ensure this .
what is assumed and planned for in appropriate land use plans, or in
proposed projections made by regional planning agencies such as the
Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG) . Significant
growth impacts could also occur if the proposed project provides
infrastructure or service capacity to accommodate growth beyond the
levels currently planned by local or regional plans and policies .
The approach to the analysis of growth-related impacts from the
proposed project involved assessing existing conditions, planned
growth and growth/population proposed projections, as well as water
supply and demand conditions for both the City and the District and
determining whether the proposed project would directly or indirectly
induce growth above and beyond that which is already planned .
The scwd2 pilot study demonstrated that potable water from the
desalination plant could meet all regulatory drinking water standards. The proposed project would supply water only to meet existing
and proposed projected shortfalls due to growth already
ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN FEATURES planned and approved and due to changed water conditions
• SWRO membrane configuration would meet water quality goals (requirements for increased stream flows for fish, seawater
while minimizing system energy requirements intrusion into groundwater supplies, global warming, etc) .
Project Environmental Analysis Summary 19
IMPACT: The proposed project would not directly induce growth, because
it would not result in the construction of new residential development
or the creation of substantial new long-term employment in the City or
District service areas . The proposed project also would not indirectly
induce growth because it would not result in excess capacity to serve
additional growth beyond what has already been planned for in the
adopted general plans of the City, County, and Capitola or the University
of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) Long Range Development Plan (LRDP);
remove an obstacle to growth; change the service area boundaries of
the City; or provide water to an area that is not currently served .
ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN FEATURES
The Draft EIR provides a detailed analysis of the environmental
impacts, potential mitigation measures and environmental design
features of all 14 topics listed on page 12 .
See SECTIONS 5, 6 and 7 of the Draft EIR for more information .
20 Project Environmental Analysis Summary
“Additional water supplies are needed now for existing customers.
If and when UCSC were to increase their water use, they would be
required to offset their new water demand by funding conservation
programs within the City’s service area.”
—Bill Kocher, Santa Cruz Water Director
Project Environmental Analysis Summary 21
05 | Component Alternatives of
the Proposed Project
How were the component alternatives for the proposed project identified and
how do they compare?
A wide range of desalination-related alternatives were considered The City Council and District Board will weigh all the information on
during the development of the proposed project or were raised from these site alternatives to ultimately pick one final intake site and one
the comments submitted during the scoping process for this EIR . These final desalination plant site .
included site locations for the desalination plant and seawater intake,
the type of pre-treatment and desalination processes, brine handling
methods, City-District intertie alignment alternatives, etc . Ultimately,
three alternative desalination plant sites and eight alternative seawater
intake sites were identified and evaluated at an equal level of detail in
the Draft EIR . The Draft EIR provides a comparison of the environmental
impacts and the ability of each component location alternative to meet
the proposed project objectives .
Any of the seawater intake and plant site location alternatives could
be implemented for the proposed project, as all sites would allow for a
facility that would meet the primary objectives of the project and would
be technically feasible to construct and operate . In most cases, where
impacts are determined to be significant in the EIR, feasible mitigation
measures are available to reduce impacts to less than significant
and distinctions between the site alternatives from an environmental
perspective are not substantial . However, Plant Site A-2 could result in a
substantial adverse effect to monarch butterfly overwintering habitat in
Natural Bridges State Beach, if trees to be removed provide a secondary
wind break to that habitat, even with the implementation of identified
mitigation measures . Therefore, it is assumed that the proposed project
would not involve the selection of Plant Site A-2 as the preferred plant
site, based on its current configuration and related potentially significant
resource impacts .
22 Component Alternatives of the Proposed Project
Aptos Pump Station Upgrade
CITY OF SANTA CRUZ SOQUEL CREEK WATER A-3
WATER SERVICE AREA DISTRICT SERVICE AREA C
Aptos Pump Station Upgrade A-1
PROSPECT 2.5 miles to the southeast (see inset above)
Station Upgrade PACIFIC OCEAN
Desalination Plant Site Alternatives
McGregor Pump POTENTIAL
Station Upgrade STAGING AREA A-2
State Beach A-3
Assessor's Parcel Boundary
2005 IWP Program EIR-Identified
Desalination Plant Sites (shown
Ocean only on overview)
See Figure 4-2 for Brine Discharge Pipeline Alternatives,
Potable Water Pipeline Alignments Raw Water Transfer Pipeline Alternatives, and
T DeLaveaga Tanks
Seawater Intake Alternatives in this area. Actual
Morrissey PS to DeLaveaga Tanks - Morrissey Alignment Option 3
Ú Pump Station (PS) locations of these features will depend on which plant
site is ultimately selected.
Morrissey PS to DeLaveaga Tanks - Trevethan Alignment Option Intertie location at Soquel Dr 0 0.5 1
DeLaveaga Tanks to City-District Intertie Soquel Creek Water District SCALE IN MILES
0 200 400
City-District Intertie to McGregor PS Service Area Boundary
Base map source: MAIN MAP SCALE IN FEET
City of Santa Cruz Water Microsoft Bing Maps AVE
Service Area Boundary DELAWARE
Imagery source: Microsoft Bing Maps
City of Santa Cruz and Soquel Creek Water District Figure 4-5
City-District Intertie System Area
scwd2 Regional Seawater Desalination Project City-District Intertie System Area Desalination Plant Site Alternatives
City of Santa Cruz and Soquel Creek Water District
scwd2 Regional Seawater Desalination Project
Desalination Plant Site Alternatives
intentional blank line intentional blank line intentional blank line intentional blank line
A wide range of desalination-related
alternatives were considered during the
WASTE WATER Sa
US HWY St
1 FACILITY y Cr
Mission St Extn ic
development of the proposed project or
were raised during the scoping process
for this EIR.
State Beach Modest Wanzer St
o Ave STRUCTURE
SI-4 STUDIES AND REPORTS THAT IDENTIFIED COMPONENT ALTERNATIVES:
SI-7 Appendix I: Seawater Intake Facility Conceptual Design Report
Appendix K: Site Selection for Seawater Desalination Treatment Plant
Appendix AA: Intake Alternatives - Review and Status of Subsurface Intakes
Existing Waste Water Treatment Facility (WWTF) Effluent Desalination Plant Site Alternatives
Outfall Pipeline; new valves to be installed on diffuser ports
Brine Discharge Alternatives; includes brine discharge pipeline
and brine discharge/WWTF outfall point of connection A-2 0 1,000 2,000 Appendix BB: Desalination Plant Hydraulic Modeling and Analysis
Raw Water Transfer Pipeline Alternatives A-3 FEET
Ú Seawater Intake (SI) Alternatives; includes pump
station (PS), intake pipeline, and intake structure
Base map source:
Microsoft Bing Maps
Appendix CC: Comparison of Desalination Technologies
Desalination Seawater Desalination Project
City of Santa Cruz and Soquel Creek Water District
System Area 2
Desalination System Area Appendix DD: Additional Seawater Reverse Osmosis Brine Disposal Options
intentional blank line intentional blank line
Component Alternatives of the Proposed Project 23
06 | Alternatives to the Proposed Project
What alternatives to the proposed project are considered in the Draft EIR
and how do they compare?
In addition to the environmental analysis of the proposed project, ALTERNATIVES CONSIDERED IN DETAIL IN THE DRAFT EIR:
an EIR is required to describe and evaluate a reasonable range of Eight alternatives to the proposed project are evaluated in detail in
alternatives to the proposed project that meet most of the proposed ”
the Draft EIR, including the required “No Project Alternative . The
project’s objectives while avoiding or substantially lessening any alternatives include:
significant environmental impacts from the project . A number of
• CITY NO PROJECT: The City would continue its current water
alternatives to the proposed project are evaluated in detail in the Draft
supply practices with its current facilities and the proposed project
EIR, some of which qualify as feasible alternatives under CEQA, and
would not be constructed . The City’s existing Water Shortage
many of which were considered because of community comments
Contingency Plan would be implemented to meet water supply
received during scoping .
ALTERNATIVES NOT CONSIDERED IN THE DRAFT EIR: Several alternatives • DISTRICT NO PROJECT:The District would continue to rely solely on
were considered for the proposed project or were reviewed as a result groundwater from the Purisima and Aromas Red Sands aquifers
of scoping comments received, but were eliminated from further in the Soquel-Aptos area and the proposed project would not be
analysis . These included alternatives such as: more groundwater, constructed . The District’s existing Water Shortage Contingency
reservoirs, off-stream diversion, reclamation/recycled water, and Plan would be implemented to meet water supply shortages as
District-only desalination within the District’s service area . Many of needed .
these alternatives were considered by the City during preparation of
• CITY-ONLY DESALINATION: A desalination plant and related
the IWP and District during preparation of the IRP In general these
facilities would be constructed and operated only by the City .
alternatives were eliminated because they did not meet most of the
proposed project objectives, were found to be infeasible, and/or did • DISTRICT-ONLY DESALINATION: A desalination plant and related
not substantially lessen or avoid the significant environmental effects facilities would be constructed and operated only by the District .
of the proposed project . A discussion of the eliminated alternatives and • DESALINATION PLUS DIRECT POTABLE REUSE (DPR) PILOT: This
the reasons for eliminating them from further consideration is included alternative includes the proposed project along with a small direct
in the Draft EIR (see SECTION 8 .2) . potable reuse (DPR) pilot system at the proposed desalination
plant site . An opportunity exists to study the feasibility of
Under CEQA, “feasible” means “capable of being accomplished in incorporating DPR into the long-term water supply portfolios of
a successful manner within a reasonable period of time, taking into the City and District . Should regulations change in the future to
account economic, environmental, social, and technological factors .” allow for DPR, the seawater desalination plant could potentially
be transitioned to a DPR facility .
24 Alternatives to the Proposed Project
• REGIONAL RECYCLED WATER FOR
IRRIGATION: This alternative considers
the regional use of recycled water
for landscape irrigation to reduce the
demand on the City and District potable
water supply systems .
• CITY PACKAGE: A variety of actions and
programs are considered that could
potentially reduce the City’s demand
for water or have other beneficial
effects on the water supply system . The
actions and programs proposed under
this alternative include: additional
conservation and demand management;
water-neutral development; new
reservoir operations policy; and water
exchanges with neighboring districts .
• DISTRICT PACKAGE: A number of
measures and programs are considered
that could potentially reduce the District’s
water supply shortfall allowing the
District to achieve its recovery pumping
goal so that the basin can recover .
The actions and programs under this “We often get asked the question, ‘What about more conservation
alternative include: mandatory water
rationing programs and water exchanges and water transfers instead of the desal project?’ The City and
with the City . District Package Alternatives address this question and the Draft
The following table highlights the attributes of EIR includes evaluation of these alternatives in detail.”
each alternative including the cost, ability to
meet the proposed project objectives, amount —Melanie Mow Schumacher, scwd2 Public Outreach Coordinator
of potable water produced, and ability to reduce
the significant impacts of the proposed project
(see SECTION 8 .3 for further information) .
Alternatives to the Proposed Project 25
COMPARISON ANALYSIS OF THE ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED PROJECT
ALTERNATIVE DOES ALT MEET PROJECT DOES ALTERNATIVE REDUCE DOES ALTERNATIVE CAUSE OTHER AMOUNT OF SUPPLEMENTAL APPROXIMATE COSTS
OBJECTIVES? POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS? WATER SUPPLIED BY
IMPACTS OF PROPOSED ALTERNATIVE
City District City District Capital Annualized Unit
Costs Cost/ ($ per AF)
MGY AFY MGY AFY
No Yes Partial No Yes Partial
Proposed ✕ ✕ NA NA Up to Up to 490- 1,500- $115 $3,500-4,300
Project 910 2,800 910 2,800
City No Project ✕ ✕ YES YES 0 0 NA NA NA NA
Alternative would avoid most of Alternative would hinder the City’s ability to com-
the environmental impacts of the mit to or implement stream flows associated with
construction and operation of the a HCP and, therefore, could result in continued
proposed project. unavoidable impacts on listed anadromous fish
and fisheries habitat. The alternative would also
result in adverse impacts related to the City’s
water supply, including availability, distribution,
District No ✕ ✕ YES YES NA NA 0 0 NA NA
Alternative would avoid most of Alternative would result in continued unavoidable
the environmental impacts of the impacts related to groundwater overdraft. The
construction and operation of the alternative would also result in adverse impacts
proposed project. related to the District’s water supply, including
availability, distribution, and treatment.
City-only ✕ ✕ SOMEWHAT NO Up to Up to 0 0 $108 $3,300-5,200
Desalination 910 2,800
Alternative would result in similar en- Alternative would result in similar environmental
vironmental impacts as the proposed impacts as the proposed project.
project, but those impacts would
be somewhat reduced in certain
categories due to intermittent use of
the plant by the City and the fact that
the City-District intertie system would
not be needed.
District-only ✕ ✕ NO NO 0 0 490- 1,500- $107 $3,300-3,700
Desalination 910 2,800
Alternative would result in similar en- Alternative would result in similar environmental
vironmental impacts as the proposed impacts as the proposed project.
* See Section 8.3, Alternatives to the Proposed Project (Table 8.3-22) for detailed footnotes and sources for this table.
26 Alternatives to the Proposed Project
ALTERNATIVE DOES ALTERNATIVE MEET PROJECT DOES ALT REDUCE POTENTIAL DOES ALTERNATIVE CAUSE OTHER AMOUNT OF SUPPLEMENTAL APPROXIMATE COSTS
OBJECTIVES? ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS? WATER SUPPLIED BY
PROPOSED PROJECT? ALTERNATIVE
City District City District Capital Annualized Unit
MGY AFY MGY AFY
(million $) ($ per AF)
No Yes Partial No Yes Partial
Regional ✕ ✕ SOMEWHAT YES 305 950 80 250 $100 $5,100
Alternative would avoid any marine- Given that the Alternative would not provide
related impacts, as no construction adequate water, it would result in continued
or operational activities would occur unavoidable impacts related to groundwater
in the marine environment. Other overdraft and would hinder the City’s ability to
impacts would be similar to proposed commit to or implement stream flows associated
project as the City’s wastewater with a HCP and therefore could result in continued
treatment plant would need to be up- unavoidable impacts on listed anadromous fish
graded and a new separate recycled and fisheries habitat. The alternative would also
water distribution system would need result in adverse impacts related to the City’s and
to be built. District’s water supplies, including availability,
distribution, and treatment.
Proposed ✕ ✕ NO NO Up to Up to 490- 1,500- $117 $3,500-4,300
Project Plus 910 2,800 910 2,800
Alternative would result in similar Alternative would result in similar environmental
environmental impacts as the proposed impacts as the proposed project.
City Package ✕ ✕ SOMEWHAT YES 200 610 NA NA $48 $4,200
Alternative would avoid any marine- Given that the Alternative would not provide ad-
related impacts, as no construction equate water, it would hinder the City’s ability to
or operational activities would occur commit to or implement stream flows associated
in the marine environment. Other with a HCP and, therefore, could result in contin-
impacts would be somewhat reduced ued unavoidable impacts on listed anadromous
in certain categories as only the City- fish and fisheries habitat. The alternative would
District intertie system would need to also result in adverse impacts related to the City’s
be constructed. water supply, including availability, distribution,
District ✕ ✕ SOMEWHAT POTENTIALLY NA NA Water Rationing Water Rationing
Alternative would avoid any marine- Given that the Alternative would not provide a 590 1,800 $50 – 127 $1,700 -
related impacts, as no construction guarantee that enough water could be provided $5,500
or operational activities would occur for the District, it could result in continued
Costs to District)
in the marine environment. Other unavoidable impacts related to groundwater
impacts would be somewhat reduced overdraft, Overall, the effect of the Alternative on
in certain categories as only the City- groundwater conditions is unknown.
District intertie system would need to Water Transfer Water Transfer
be constructed. 0-110 0-340 $48 $4,200
Acronyms: MGY = million gallons per year, AFY = acre-feet per year, NA= not applicable
Alternatives to the Proposed Project 27
07 | Environmental Review Process
How does the process work and what is involved?
The Draft EIR document has been published and is available for public The City Council and the District Board of Directors are required to
review before any decisions are made about the proposed project . The consider the information in the Final EIR, along with any other relevant
public has the opportunity to provide formal comments on the Draft EIR information, in making their decisions about the proposed project, and,
during the public review period and at public hearings as noted on page if they choose to approve a proposed project, to make findings regarding
30 . Following the close of the public comment period, the project team each significant effect identified in the EIR . CEQA also requires that all
will respond to comments submitted, make any necessary revisions to feasible measures be considered to mitigate any identified significant
the EIR and then publish a Final EIR . The Final EIR will also be available effects . If no feasible mitigation measures are available, then the lead
in advance of consideration of EIR certification at the locations identified agencies must also consider feasible alternatives to the proposed
on page 30 and on the City’s and District’s websites . project that would lessen any identified significant effects that cannot
be mitigated . If no feasible mitigation measures or alternatives exist to
Upon completion of the Final EIR, the City Council and District Board of avoid significant environmental effects, then that must be explained in
Directors (the Lead Agencies under CEQA) may consider certification the findings .
of the EIR and approval of a proposed project . Certification of the EIR
is the process by which the decision-making bodies officially find and The lead agencies are also responsible for preparing and implementing
formally acknowledge that the EIR has been prepared in full compliance a program to monitor and report on mitigation measures, to ensure
with CEQA and adequately addresses the environmental effects of a that mitigation measures identified in the EIR are carried out . In some
proposed project . cases, impacts may be proactively avoided through measures and
commitments made by the City and District . The environmental design
features for the proposed project are such measures and will be included
in the mitigation monitoring program to ensure compliance .
Certification of the EIR is not the same as project approval .
Approval of a proposed project would involve additional
considerations beyond the environmental analysis . Project
approval would also be subject to a vote of the City of
Santa Cruz electorate* .
*Officials are also considering ways to involve District and non-City
customers in the decision making process.
28 Environmental Review Process
The Santa Cruz City Council and the Soquel Creek Water
District Board of Directors, as joint Lead Agencies,
must certify the Final EIR prior to making the decision to
approve, deny, or modify the proposed project.
Environmental Review Process 29
08 | Commenting on the Draft EIR
What is the public review period? How can I submit comments?
The Draft EIR will be available for public and agency comment for a Two public meetings will be held to inform the public about the Draft
60 day period, beginning on May 13, 2013, and concluding on July EIR and to receive written and oral comments on the adequacy of the
15 2013 . CEQA only requires a 45 day public review period for Draft information present in the Draft EIR . Two meetings are being held in
EIRs submitted to the State Clearinghouse for review (PRC Section order to accommodate both agency personnel, who typically work
21091), however given the public interest in the proposed project, the during daylight hours on weekdays, and the public at large, for whom
lead agencies have decided to provide a longer comment period of 60 evening or night meetings are typically more convenient . The same
calendar days . information will be provided at both meetings .
During the public comment period, written comments on the adequacy
of the Draft EIR must be submitted by all interested public agencies,
organizations, community groups, and individuals to: PUBLIC MEETINGS
JUNE 3, 2013 AT SEACLIFF INN
Heidi Luckenbach, scwd Desalination Program Coordinator
1 7500 Old Dominion Court 12:00 PM – 2:30 PM
City of Santa Cruz, Water Department
Aptos, CA 95003
212 Locust Street, Suite C
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Email: hluckenbach@cityofsantacruz .com
JULY 1, 2013 AT FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH
Written comments can be submitted until 5PM, July 15, 2013 .
2 900 High Street 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
How to get a copy of the Draft EIR
Electronic copies of the Draft EIR are available on the scwd2
Desalination Program website at http://www .scwd2desal .org/Page-
Project-phases_EIR_Reports_Docs .php . The Draft EIR will also be
available for public review during the 60 day comment period at the
• Public libraries within the agencies’ service areas
• Soquel Creek Water District located at 5180 Soquel Drive, Soquel, California
• City of Santa Cruz Water Department located at 212 Locust Street, Suite C,
Santa Cruz, California
30 Commenting on the Draft EIR
Given the public interest in the proposed project, the
City and District have decided to extend the required
45 day comment period to 60 days.
Commenting on the Draft EIR 31
09 | Next Steps
What is the timeline for the proposed project? What Agencies are involved with project
approvals and permitting?
The following is a summary of the process leading to approval of the proposed project:
• Draft EIR is made available for 60-day public review and comment
• City and District receive and respond to comments and prepare a Final EIR
• City Council and District Board consider certification of the Final EIR
• If Final EIR is certified, City Council and District Board consider conditional project approval, make required findings,
and adopt a mitigation monitoring and reporting program
• If conditionally approved by City and District, project approval is subject to the vote of the City electorate
• If approved by the City electorate, necessary permits, authorizations, and consultations from federal, state, and local
agencies would be pursued, as listed on following page .
WINTER 2010: SUMMER 2013–WINTER 2013:
• Release NOP/IS • Respond to comments
• Scoping period • Prepare Final EIR
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
SPRING 2008–FALL 2010: SPRING 2011–SUMMER 2013: WINTER 2013–
INFORM EVALUATE FALL 2014:
• Community Information Meetings • Complete environmental and CONSIDER
• Operated Pilot Plant technical studies • Final EIR
• Conducted environmental and technical studies • Prepare and circulate Draft EIR • Consider EIR Certification
• Public Hearings • Consider project approval
• City of Santa Cruz Vote
32 Next Steps
PROJECT APPROVAL AND PERMITTING
FEDERAL AGENCIES STATE AGENCIES REGIONAL AND LOCAL AGENCIES
U .S . Army Corps of Engineers California Coastal Commission Regional Water Quality Control Board
(Central Coast Region)
U .S . Fish and Wildlife Service California State Lands Commission
Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration State Water Resources Control Board Control District
(NOAA), National Marine Fisheries Service
California Department of Fish and Wildlife City of Santa Cruz
NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program,
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary California Department of Public Health Soquel Creek Water District
U .S . Coast Guard County of Santa Cruz
City of Capitola
Next Steps 33
1 0 | Glossary of Terms
BRINE: The byproduct of the reverse osmosis process which contains a HABITAT CONSERVATION PLAN (HCP): An HCP is a plan that allows for
concentration of salt, making it almost twice as salty as average seawater . “take” of species that are listed as threatened or endangered under the
federal Endangered Species Act . A similar plan is required for “take” of
COMPONENT ALTERNATIVES:There are four basic functional components species that are listed as threatened or endangered under the California
of the proposed seawater desalination project: (1) seawater intake; (2) Endangered Species Act . The federal and state oversight agencies for
pretreatment and salt removal through reverse osmosis filtration; (3) endangered and threatened fish species that occupy the rivers and
disposal of by-products including brine and solids that are removed in streams that the City of Santa Cruz relies on for 80 percent of its water
the pretreatment process; and (4) conveyance and delivery of the product supply, are requiring the City to reduce surface water withdrawals,
water to existing City and District water distribution system . Alternative ,
pursuant to a pending HCP for protection of steelhead and coho salmon .
sites for the seawater intake system and the desalination plant have
been included and are evaluated in detail in this EIR . To the extent that IMPINGEMENT: Impingement is the entrapment of fish and invertebrates
potentially feasible component alternatives are identified, the intent of on seawater intake screens .
the EIR is to evaluate each at a sufficient level of detail such that any
INDIRECT POTABLE REUSE (IPR): IPR is where highly purified recycled
combination of components could be identified and considered by the
City and District for approval . Ultimately, only one seawater intake site water is purposefully introduced into an untreated drinking water
and one plant site would be selected . supply source, such as groundwater in an aquifer or surface water in a
large reservoir .
DIRECT POTABLE REUSE (DPR): DPR refers to the introduction of purified
INTEGRATED RESOURCES PLAN (IRP): The Soquel Creek Water District’s
water, derived from municipal wastewater, directly into a municipal
water supply system after extensive treatment and monitoring to assure IRP is a long-term water plan with a goal of protecting and recovering
that strict water quality requirements are met at all times . the District’s groundwater resources, through a diversified strategy
ENTRAINMENT: Entrainment is the passage of planktonic organisms
through a water intake system . • Water-use efficiency through demand management
(i .e . conservation and re-use);
GREENHOUSE GAS (GHG): Gases that form a layer in the atmosphere • Groundwater management, and;
that can trap heat in much the same way as glass in a greenhouse,
which is why this phenomenon is known as the “greenhouse effect . ” • Supplemental supply development .
The greenhouse effect is the result of heat absorption by GHGs, and
re-radiation downward of some of that heat . Increases in emissions of
GHGs, such as those resulting from the combustion of carbon-based
fuels, can increase this effect, resulting in changes in climate dynamics .
34 Glossary of Terms
INTEGRATED WATER PLAN (IWP): The City of Santa Cruz Integrated Water PROPOSED PROJECT: In this Community Guide, “proposed project”
Plan was prepared to address drought-related shortages and to plan refers to the proposed City of Santa Cruz and Soquel Creek Water District
for growth planned through 2030 . The IWP includes investigations and (scwd2) Regional Seawater Desalination Project .
strategies related to:
PILOT PLANT: From March 2008 through April 2009, scwd2 conducted a
• Water demand projections; comprehensive pilot plant program at UCSC’s Long Marine Laboratory to
• Water conservation programs; evaluate treatment system alternatives and investigate water quality data .
• Customer curtailments in times of shortage, and; PROJECT ALTERNATIVES: CEQA requires the analysis of alternatives to a
• New water supplies and infrastructure . proposed project for purposes of avoiding and reducing environmental
effects . A range of alternatives to the proposed project are considered
MITIGATION AND MONITORING PROGRAM: If mitigation measures are in the EIR .
identified in an Environmental Impact Report to reduce or eliminate
potential environmental impacts associated with a proposed project, the REVERSE OSMOSIS: Reverse osmosis filtration involves forcing water
lead agency is required to implement and adopt mitigation measures . In at very high pressures through a series of membranes with pore sizes
order to ensure compliance, a mitigation and monitoring program must small enough to exclude salts and other minerals, resulting in highly
be formulated, adopted, and implemented . purified product water .
NET CARBON NEUTRAL: A commitment by the City and District whereby a SEAWATER INTRUSION: The movement of seawater into freshwater
combination of project design and GHG reduction commitments provide aquifers (groundwater supplies), which can lead to contamination
for the avoidance of a net increase in GHG emissions above existing or of drinking water sources . Seawater has a higher salt content than
baseline levels . The intent of a net carbon neutral objective is to avoid freshwater, and therefore is denser, giving it a higher water pressure
any potential adverse effects of the proposed project on climate change . that can displace freshwater in an aquifer . A common cause of seawater
intrusion is pumping of freshwater from a groundwater basin faster
NPDES PERMIT: A permit issued under the program the National Pollutant than it can be recharged through rainfall or other recharge methods .
Discharge Elimination System, as authorized by the federal Clean Water
Act (CWA) . NPDES permits are required for any direct (e .g ., pipeline) WASTEWATER TREATMENT FACILITY (WWTF): The City of Santa Cruz
discharge to waters that are regulated under the CWA . NPDES permit operates and maintains a regional wastewater treatment plant and
coverage is also required for construction projects over a certain size . ocean outfall disposal for Santa Cruz County Sanitation District (includes
Live Oak, Capitola, Soquel, and Aptos) and the City of Santa Cruz . Ocean
outfall disposal is also provided for the City of Scotts Valley .
Glossary of Terms 35
Proposed scwd 2 Regional Seawater Desalination Project
This guide was printed on recycled paper with soy-based inks.
Soquel Creek Water District City of Santa Cruz Water Department
5180 Soquel Drive, Soquel CA 212 Locust Street, Suite C, Santa Cruz CA