System Analysis and Evaluation

Scott McGilvray, principal at Wateraware became involved in Santa Cruz County in 2011 in a community effort to encourage the water district to abandon its plans for a desalination plant.

Background: During the late oughts and into 2011, the Santa Cruz Water District and the Soquel Creek Water district had announced joint plans to build a desalination plant and share the output. The plans required $130 Million for construction and would have provided partial water supply for over 120,000 persons in Northern Santa Cruz County.

Process: The community banded together to oppose the desalination plant. The effort was multi-faceted: Political, environmental and economic. Wateraware led the effort to investigate the economics of alternative water supplies.

Results: Politically, the community backed a citizen originated initiative, Measure P, Measure P is a charter amendment which requires voter approval of a desalination plant at a general election. Over the next 2 years, the city re-examined the water supply options. On November 24, 2015, the City Council of Santa Cruz unanimously accepted and endorsed a plan to develop the San Lorenzo River water source and consider desalination only as a last resort.