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Letter to Board of Supervisors regarding declaration of groundwater emergency (1998)

Douglas Deitch
Poona Foundation
501 Mission Street
Santa Cruz, California, 95060
(408) 476-7662
JUNE 15, 1998

County Of Santa Cruz
701 Ocean Street
Santa Cruz, California, 95060


Dear Members of the Board,

By letter to you of June 12, 1998, Supervisor Aliquots has recommended to you that a public hearing be set to consider adoption of a declaration of a groundwater emergency in the jurisdiction of the Ajar Valley Water Management Agency and other measures. I recommend to you that a more appropriate and prudent course of action is to set a public hearing for declaration of a groundwater emergency covering the entire county.

All of Supervisor Almquist's comments contained in his letter relative to Ajar Valley Water Management Agency apply as well on a county-wide basis. This is truly a county-wide crisis requiring a coordinated county, and actually, regional response and solution.

All of our water resources are under enormous stress and overuse, no plan or consensus on any solution has been established anywhere, and the problem seems to be getting worse on an exponential basis.

On June 9, based on the "Water Resources Management" report presented and accepted that day, I recommended (on behalf of my organization and the people of this community) that you declare a county-wide water emergency.

Additionally, I recommended that you immediately initiate a  regionally-coordinated strategic water use and management effort with Monterey and San Benito Counties, commence an all-inclusive and regionally-wide well metering/monitoring program for all existent and new wells, and immediately begin the process leading to a water surcharge for all water users to provide the needed substantial revenues which will be required for the costly water projects which we must necessarily and expeditiously undertake on a regional level.

I reiterate those recommendations to you now. The most recent evaluation of Pear's situation by Bookman/Edmondson and USES just completed in May indicate the problem is even worse than reported in your county report.

The full extent of Soquel's significant overdraft problem in unknown still, and no proposed solutions are on the table. The City of Santa Cruz, though not dependent on wells, has demand needs and no current source.

Please comply with your statutory mandate cited by Supervisor Almquist and set a public hearing to consider declaration of a groundwater emergency in Santa Cruz County.

Respectfully, Douglas Deitch, 

Pogonip Foundation, Inc.

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