“The City of Santa Cruz and the Soquel Creek Water District are planning jointly to construct a seawater desalination plant. The construction cost is estimated to be over $100 million dollars. Ratepayers in the City of Santa Cruz will be on the hook to pay 60% of that cost. Water rates will go up significantly if the plant is built. On a more philosophical plane, a decision to build a desal plant will be a decision to release our community from the inherent limits of the natural environment. Currently, we have to live within the limits of our natural water supply. Desalination is a way to “manufacture water.” As long as the ratepayers are willing to pay the costs, the supplies of water that can be produced are essentially unconstrained. The City of Santa Cruz has promised UCSC that it will pursue modular desalination plants in the future, to meet “system demand” for water. In other words, the decision on desal is a decision about University growth in particular, and future growth in general.
This is one of those cases in which the Wittwer & Parkin law firm, where I am “Of Counsel,” is representing an interested party, namely the Community Water Coalition. The environmental review process is just beginning, and I hope all of you will get personally involved. I have put links to the Draft EIR in today’s transcript. Comments are due by July 15th.”
Read more: KUSP