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City of Santa Cruz and Soquel Creek Water District

Proposed scwd2 Regional Seawater Desalination Project

Community Guide

a handbook for the Draft Environmental Impact Report MAY 2013


“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  hat is the proposed project and the purpose of this W guide? Why has an environmental document been prepared?

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 | 

07 | 

03 |

 08 |

PROJECT BACKGROUND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 06 What agencies are involved in the proposed project? Why is the proposed project needed?

04 | 05 |

 ROJECT OBJECTIVES P AND DESCRIPTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 What are the objectives of the proposed project? What are the components of the proposed project and how would it be operated?

 ROJECT ENVIRONMENTAL P ANALYSIS SUMMARY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 What are the key environmental effects of the proposed project and how are they being minimized?

 OMPARISON OF COMPONENT C ALTERNATIVES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 How were the component alternatives for the proposed project identified and how do they compare?

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW PROCESS. . . . . . . . . . . 28 How does the process work and what is involved?

COMMENTING ON THE DRAFT EIR. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 What is the public review period? How can I submit comments?

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NEXT STEPS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

10 |

GLOSSARY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

What is the timeline for the proposed project? What Agencies are involved with project approvals and permitting?

Glossary of terms used in this document


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 evaluations of their water needs and available sources, and are pursuing integrated approaches to water supply planning that include conservation programs and curtailment (or cutbacks) of water during periods of drought. In addition to these conservation and curtailment programs, the City and District have also identified the need for a supplemental supply of water. The City and District independently analyzed several alternatives and decided to pursue seawater desalination as a source of supplemental supply.

Act (CEQA) requires an EIR be prepared for this proposed project. Under CEQA, every development proposed project that requires a discretionary governmental approval requires some level of environmental review. The EIR is an informational tool used by governing bodies, permitting agencies, and the community to understand the environmental consequences of the proposed project. The EIR identifies the significant effects of the proposed project on the environment and considers feasible alternatives or mitigation measures to substantially lessen or eliminate the significant environmental effects.

The City and District are jointly evaluating the proposed scwd2 Regional Seawater Desalination Project (proposed project) that, along with conservation, would address water supply shortages by supplementing existing supplies by up to 2.5 million gallons per day. PURPOSE OF THE COMMUNITY GUIDE: Over the next several months, the

communities served by the City and District will be participating in the public review process for the Draft Environmental Impact Report (Draft 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 features, mitigation measures, and feasible alternatives. The guide also provides information about the environmental review process and how to provide comments on the Draft EIR (see SECTION 7 of this guide).

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Introduction

The first step in the EIR process, called scoping, allowed the public and interested parties to help define the issues and alternatives to be evaluated in the EIR. During the scoping period, the public provided input on the environmental topics, potential effects, mitigation measures, and alternatives to be analyzed in the EIR. Following scoping, technical and environmental studies were conducted to inform and complete the Draft EIR. For a more detailed look at the environmental review process, see SECTION 7 of this guide.

Public comments must address the contents of the Draft EIR and not the contents of this community guide. Readers who would like to review all of the information contained within the 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

Introduction

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02 | Project Background

What agencies are involved in the proposed project? Why is the proposed project needed? CITY OF SANTA CRUZ The City’s water system relies entirely on rainfall, runoff, and groundwater within watersheds located in Santa Cruz County; and no water is imported from outside the Santa Cruz area (such as from the State Water project). As a result, the City’s system is vulnerable to shortage in dry years. Three primary factors create significant challenges for the City to provide adequate water supply now and in the future: DEMAND EXCEEDS SUPPLY IN DRY YEARS: While the City usually has

adequate supplies to meet demand in wet and normal years, water supplies fall short of demand levels in dry years. Low surface flows in North Coast streams and the San Lorenzo River coupled with depleted surface water storage in Loch Lomond Reservoir reduces the available supply to a level that cannot support existing demand, causing water shortages.

CURRENT LEVELS OF GROUNDWATER PUMPING ARE UNSUSTAINABLE:

Groundwater pumping from the City’s Live Oak wells, along with other groundwater pumping in the aquifer, is not sustainable. Groundwater pumping in the Soquel-Aptos area has resulted in a slow but continuous drop in groundwater levels. This unsustainable level of groundwater extraction threatens future supplies and increases the risk of seawater intrusion, which could cause irreversible contamination of the groundwater supply. Seawater intrusion is the movement of seawater into freshwater aquifers which can lead to contamination of drinking water supplies. See further discussion about groundwater pumping for the District on pages 8-9. In addition to these main factors, climate change and pending water rights and entitlements could also result in a decrease in long-term water supply.

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 (HCP) with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and National Marine Fisheries Service (fisheries agencies) to obtain permits under 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 diverted from North Coast streams and the San Lorenzo River to provide more water for steelhead trout and coho salmon. The HCP will require 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

Why is the proposed project needed for the City? Water supply falls short in dry years (drought conditions)  ore water needs to be left in streams and rivers M to protect threatened and endangered fish and their habitat Groundwater supply is at-risk of being contaminated by seawater


THE SANTA CRUZ WATER DEPARTMENT is a municipal utility

City and District Water Service Areas

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 City’s surface water sources

Sells Well Site: Soquel Creek Water District relies solely on groundwater

Loch Lomond Reservoir: Built in 1960 for the City of Santa Cruz

Cornwell Tank: One of Soquel Creek Water District’s 18 storage tanks Project Background

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Based on nearly a century of hydrologic data, the City could experience some water shortage approximately every 2-3 years, with shortages that could be as high as 39% in the near term and up to 46% in the long-term. These figures include reductions in customer demand through ongoing and new conservation programs. Depending on the outcome of the HCP development process, shortages could be substantially higher than those reported above. Water shortages above 35% are considered by the City to be a Stage 5 Critical Emergency that could threaten the health, safety and security of the community, as well as lead to substantial economic impacts to the area. The City has been engaged in extensive planning over the past 25 years to address these water supply issues. The City’s adopted Integrated Water Plan (IWP) calls for a diverse strategy that includes increased conservation and up to 15% curtailment (or cutbacks) of water in dry years. The City’s per capita water usage rate is nearly half of the average rate for California and among the lowest reported. Additional conservation measures were determined to be insufficient to prevent severe water shortages in dry years. As a result, a supplemental water supply has been identified as a necessary element of the City’s water planning strategy.

The City has been engaged in extensive planning in collaboration with the public over the past 25 years. 8

Project Background

A number of water supply alternatives were investigated during a lengthy public planning process and only one was determined to be viable: a seawater desalination plant. The IWP specifically identified the need for a desalination plant with a capacity of 2.5 mgd, with the ability to expand the plant to 4.5 mgd to meet future needs. Because the needs of the City and District are complimentary, the City elected to partner with the District to further investigate a seawater desalination plant as a supplemental water supply project. This cooperative 2.5 mgd supplemental supply project constitutes the proposed project being evaluated in the EIR.

SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT The District relies entirely on groundwater from the Soquel-Aptos area, which is currently being pumped at an unsustainable rate and is in a state of overdraft. This means that more water is pumped out through wells than is replenished by rainfall seeping deep underground into the aquifers. If the total groundwater extraction from the District and other pumpers (including the City, the Central Water District, mutual water companies, and private well owners) continues at the current rate, the groundwater levels will 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 basin. Without a supplemental supply, this would require year-round cutbacks of approximately 35% for at least 20 years.


Why is the proposed project needed for the District? Sole reliance on a shared groundwater basin that is being overpumped at an unsustainable rate Groundwater supply is at-risk of being contaminated by seawater

What is Seawater Intrusion? Healthy coastal aquifer

Coastal aquifer contaminated by seawater

Seawater intrusion is the movement of seawater into freshwater aquifers which can lead to contamination of drinking water supplies.

Given the groundwater overdraft conditions in the Soquel-Aptos area, 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 evaluated during public planning processes and were determined not to be viable.The District’s adopted 2012 Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) Update includes, but is not limited to, development of conservation 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 supply project identified as the proposed desalination project.

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 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.

Project Background

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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 agencies to continue to provide safe and reliable water to the communities served by the City and District.

The specific objectives of the proposed project are summarized below. The objectives address the need for a supplemental water supply as identified 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.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES •

Provide for a supplemental water supply in a timely manner that meets the agencies’ water supply program objectives for both near-term and long-term needs

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 Adaptation Plan

Provide a supplemental water supply that:

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Has regional benefits and promotes efficient use of resources

Is readily available, drought-proof, avoids risk and/or uncertainty Project Objectives and Description

Effectively meets future changed conditions and ensures accommodation of planned growth

Avoids or minimizes significant environmental impacts

Does not increase greenhouse gas emissions

Is relatively cost-effective


PROJECT COMPONENTS

Brine storage and disposal – the byproduct of reverse osmosis filtration is concentrated seawater that is typically twice as salty as ambient seawater and requires appropriate dilution prior to 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 and dilution rate of the brine

Support facilities associated with the plant components

The proposed project consists of many different components, all of which work together to meet the objectives of the proposed project. The components of the proposed project consist of: 1. SEAWATER INTAKE SYSTEM: A seawater intake and conveyance system

consisting of an intake structure, intake pipeline, pump station, and transfer piping. The EIR evaluates eight location alternatives for the intake. Only one of these location alternatives would be implemented. 2. SEAWATER DESALINATION PLANT: The EIR evaluates three location

alternatives for the seawater desalination plant. Only one of these location alternatives would be implemented. A seawater desalination plant would include: •

Pretreatment of seawater to remove debris and solids

Residuals handling and disposal of the solids that are removed in pre-treatment

Reverse osmosis filtration to remove dissolved salts and minerals –achieved by forcing the pre-treated water through membrane filters at high pressure

Energy recovery devices to capture and reuse energy from the high pressure filtration process

Post-treatment conditioning prior to delivery to the domestic water distribution system to comply with public health regulations and to protect distribution systems against corrosion

Systems to store and deliver chemicals used in treatment process

Preliminary architectural rendering, as shown on page 16 shows how the proposed project could be designed to blend in with existing surroundings. 3.  BRINE DISPOSAL SYSTEM: The concentrated seawater, or brine,

resulting from the reverse osmosis process would be mixed with the effluent from the City’s existing Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) so the combined effluent (treated wastewater plus brine) would have similar salinity levels as ocean water to avoid any potential effects on the marine environment. To achieve this mixing, new facilities would be needed to store and convey the brine to the WWTF outfall, which would be modified to appropriately dispose of the brine. 4.  POTABLE WATER SYSTEM IMPROVEMENTS: New facilities to pump

and convey the desalinated water to the existing water distribution systems would be needed. These would consist of a new connection to the City’s distribution system and a new intertie system between the City and District service areas, including new pipelines and pump station improvements. Environmental design, construction, and operational features consisting of measures that would be implemented to avoid, reduce, or minimize potential environmental effects that might occur in the absence of such elements. Key environmental design features are identified in SECTION 4.

5. ENVIRONMENTAL

Seawater is pumped through membranes which remove salt and let fresh water pass through

DESIGN

FEATURES:

Project Objectives and Description

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04 | Project Environmental Analysis Summary 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 proposed actions; 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.

The basic intent of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is to develop, maintain and enhance a high-quality environment for California residents and visitors, and to avoid environmental damage; while providing for a decent living environment. CEQA focuses primarily on physical effects on the environment and excludes social or economic effects. Through its formal and structured public review process, CEQA gives agencies and community members an opportunity to consider and provide comment on the environmental consequences of the proposed project.

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Project Environmental Analysis Summary

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 following environmental resource topics in detail. •

Hydrology and Water Quality

Cultural Resources

Marine Biological Resources

Utilities and Service Systems

Terrestrial Biological Resources

Land Use, Planning, & Recreation

Aesthetics

Air Quality and Climate

Hazards and Hazardous Materials

(includes Greenhouse Gases)

Traffic and Transportation

Noise and Vibration

Growth Impacts

Geology and Soils

Cumulative Impacts

(includes Energy)


For each topic, the Draft EIR describes the existing environmental setting and regulatory framework, evaluates potential impacts based on the proposed project description and its incorporation of environmental design features, and recommends mitigation measures that could reduce or avoid potentially significant impacts. The environmental analysis also describes any distinctions between the three alternative desalination plant sites and eight alternative seawater intake sites being considered for the proposed project.

During public scoping, the community voiced concerns over a number of environmental topics and raised questions on how the City and District intended to resolve these concerns. This Community Guide summarizes key conclusions and environmental impacts for these areas of community interest: •

Marine water quality

Marine biological resources

Terrestrial biological resources

Greenhouse gas emissions and climate change

Energy

Water supply quality

Growth

The following provides a summary of the environmental impacts associated with these topics and the recommended approach for reducing or avoiding these impacts.

MARINE WATER QUALITY FIND OUT MORE IN THE EIR

Section 5.1, Hydrology and Water Quality & Appendix J, Dilution Analysis for Brine Disposal Via Ocean Outfall

OVERVIEW: The analysis of marine water quality impacts focuses on

whether the brine discharge could meet regulatory requirements for water quality and not exceed existing salinity of the ocean. The proposed project would dilute the brine from the desalination process with the City’s WWTF effluent prior to discharge through the existing WWTF outfall to avoid adverse effects of elevated salinity on the marine environment. In addition, the analysis examines the effects on marine water quality during construction of offshore components. 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, and the salinity of the discharge would be similar to existing ocean 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

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ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN FEATURES • Brine would be blended with less salty water coming from

the existing WWTF to dilute the brine to match existing ocean salinity •

Storage of brine at the desalination plant would control the rate of discharge to account for fluctuations in flows from the WWTF

New valves on the existing discharge ports of the WWTF outfall would help spread the combined effluent along the entire diffuser length providing for improved mixing and better control of flow rates

Automatic control devices and monitoring would ensure proper blending of the brine

Underground tunneling for the installation of the seawater intake pipelines would avoid beach and bluff construction and minimize sediment and turbidity in the marine environment

MITIGATION MEASURES • A construction drilling-fluids management plan for seawater

intake pipeline tunneling would minimize water quality effects from potential release of fluids during tunneling (Mitigation Measure 5.1-2a) •

Marine construction best management practices minimize turbidity (Mitigation Measure 5.1-2b)

would

MARINE BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES FIND OUT MORE IN THE EIR

Section 5.2, Marine Biological Resources & Appendix G, Open Ocean Intake Effects Study

OVERVIEW: A new intake system

and piping would deliver seawater to the desalination plant for treatment. Piping would be drilled below ground from a location onshore to the intake location offshore. A screen would be attached to the offshore end of the pipe. At the onshore end, a pump station would be constructed to draw Small slot-size screens and slow intake the water through the screened velocity would reduce impacts to marine biological resources. opening, and to deliver the water to the desalination plant. The analysis of marine biological resources focuses on what happens when marine organisms are drawn along with the ocean water through the screen and through the filtration process – an effect known as “entrainment”. Also, the Draft EIR analyzes the 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 effects, underwater construction noise, and the placement of the intake structure are minimized through mitigation measures. These effects are further described below.

ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN FEATURES • Provide intake screens with small (2mm) openings and low

through-screen velocity consistent with regulatory guidelines •

Brine would be blended with less salty water coming from the existing WWTF to dilute the brine to match ocean salinity

Storage of brine at the desalination plant would control the rate of discharge to account for fluctuations in flows from the WWTF

New valves on the existing discharge ports of the WWTF outfall would help spread the combined effluent along the entire diffuser length providing for improved mixing and better control of flow rates

Automatic control devices and monitoring would ensure proper blending of the brine

Underground tunneling for the installation of the seawater intake pipelines would avoid beach, bluff, and intertidal construction and minimize sediment and turbidity in the marine environment

Entrainment and Impingement Impacts: A year-long Open Ocean Intake

Effects Study was conducted for the proposed project to understand the impact to marine life of entrainment. The study concluded that the proposed project could cause the white croaker (the most abundant species collected) to have a potential loss of up to one female fish’s lifetime reproductive capacity each year. This would be an extremely small amount and represents far less mortality than that resulting from other natural sources and human activities, such as commercial or recreational fishing. The intake screens would further reduce the entrainment by excluding organisms greater than the 2mm screen openings, including adult and juvenile fish, and some of the larger larvae of fish and invertebrate species. Additionally, because the flow 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 are minimized through mitigation measures.

New valves on the existing wastewater outfall discharge ports would ensure mixing of the combined wastewater effluent/brine discharge. Project Environmental Analysis Summary

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MITIGATION MEASURES • Construction-phase mitigation measures include the same

measures noted above for marine water quality impacts (Mitigation Measures 5.1-2a and 5.1-2b) •

The effects of underwater construction noise on special-status and other marine life due to particular construction activities would be controlled through the preparation and implementation of a hydroacoustic (underwater noise) monitoring plan (Mitigation Measure 5.2-4).This measure would apply only to certain seawater intake sites (SI-4, SI-5, SI-7, SI-14, SI-16, and SI-17) A pre-construction survey of the selected intake location will identify the precise site for the intake structure and areas to avoid during construction. The placement of the seawater intake structure would avoid kelp forest habitat through the use of such a survey. (Mitigation Measure 5.2-5). This measure would apply only to certain seawater intake sites (SI-4, SI-5, SI-7, SI-14, and SI-16)

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. 16

Project Environmental Analysis Summary

TERRESTRIAL BIOLOGICAL RESOURCES FIND OUT MORE IN THE EIR

Section 5.3, Terrestrial Biological Resources Appendix R, Biotic Resources Survey Report Appendix S, Monarch Butterfly Habitat Assessment

OVERVIEW: The new on-shore structures and buildings for the proposed

project would be located on parcels within the City of Santa Cruz that are either already developed or are within and surrounded by existing developed areas. New on-shore underground piping would be located primarily in existing paved public roads in the City, County, and Capitola alongside other existing utilities such as water, wastewater, power, and telecommunication lines. The approach evaluated whether the construction of the proposed facilities would have a substantial adverse effect on: special-status terrestrial or freshwater aquatic species; sensitive habitat; protected wetlands; wildlife movement; and/ or resources protected by local policies, such as heritage trees.

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.


IMPACT: The proposed project would not result in substantial adverse

effects to protected wetlands. With the implementation of identified mitigation measures, construction of the proposed on-shore facilities would not have substantial adverse effects on: state and federal specialstatus species, migratory birds; riparian habitat; or heritage trees. No significant impacts to butterfly overwintering habitat related to tree removal would occur at Sites A-1 or A-3. If Plant Site A-2 is selected, the removal of on-site trees could result in a substantial adverse effect to monarch butterfly overwintering habitat in Natural Bridges State Beach, if these trees provide a secondary wind break to that habitat. ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN FEATURES • The landscaping at the desalination plant site would include

butterfly nectar plants to provide foraging resources for butterflies and other beneficial insect species MITIGATION MEASURES • Pre-construction surveys would be conducted and protection

measures implemented for special-status species, including Central California Coast steelhead, California red-legged frog, foothill yellow-legged frog, San Francisco dusky-footed woodrat, and special-status and migratory birds (Mitigation Measures 5.3-1a through 5.3-1d and 5.3-5) •

Riparian setbacks shall be implemented per the City-Wide Creeks and Wetland Management Plan methodology and measures to protect riparian areas during construction shall be implemented in areas adjacent or in riparian areas (Mitigation Measures 5.3-2a through 5.3-2c)

To the extent feasible trees shall be retained at Plant Site A-2. An arborist report shall be prepared to protect any trees retained onsite from damage during construction. (Mitigation Measure 5.3-3a and 5.3-6)

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)

ENERGY, GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, & CLIMATE CHANGE FIND OUT MORE IN THE EIR

Section 5.5, Air Quality and Climate (for discussion of GHGs and climate change), Section 5.9, Utilities and Service Systems (for discussion of energy), Appendix O, Summary of Energy and GHG Reduction Approach, Appendix T, Air Quality and Climate Calculations

OVERVIEW: The energy requirement of seawater desalination and

associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are among the key community and stakeholder issues in the evaluation of the proposed project. The approach to the analysis of energy impacts from the proposed project involves evaluating whether the proposed project would require new or expanded energy generation or transmission facilities or conflict with existing energy standards. The approach to the analysis of GHG impacts from the proposed project involves evaluating whether the GHG emissions would have an adverse effect on the environment or conflict with an applicable plan or regulation intended to reduce GHG Energy recovery devices allow for reuse emissions. of energy at the desalination plant.

Project Environmental Analysis Summary

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IMPACT: With the implementation of environmental design features, the

proposed project would not result in substantial adverse effects related to energy use or GHG emissions, as the proposed project would not result in the need for new or expanded energy supplies or distribution facilities, would not conflict with applicable energy standards, and would not result in a net increase in GHG emissions. The City and District have made a commitment that the operation of the proposed project would be net carbon neutral which would result in no net increase in GHG emissions. ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN FEATURES • High-efficiency energy recovery devices would allow for reuse of energy

at the desalination plant •

High-efficiency pumps and motors would reduce energy requirements

SWRO membrane configuration would meet water quality goals while minimizing system energy requirements

Compliance with the City’s Green Building Program, which includes concepts common to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, would allow the proposed project to meet established energy sustainability goals

Commitment to net carbon neutral operations would result in no net increase in GHG emissions. This would be achieved through the above features and the pursuit of one of two options for offsetting the net increase in GHG emissions, including a portfolio of energy and GHG reducing proposed projects and actions, or the purchase of certified GHG offsets

Energy Minimization and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan would be implemented to ensure that the net carbon neutral objective of the proposed project is achieved on a long-term basis.

MITIGATION MEASURES

None required

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Project Environmental Analysis Summary

WATER SUPPLY QUALITY FIND OUT MORE IN THE EIR

Section 5.1, Hydrology and Water Quality Appendix D, Final Seawater Reverse Osmosis Desalination Pilot Test Program Report & Appendices

OVERVIEW: Seawater from Monterey Bay would be pretreated,

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 per day (mgd) of potable drinking water. A desalination pilot program was implemented to test and evaluate alternative treatment systems. The results of the pilot program were used to determine whether drinking water standards could be reliably met. In addition, the pilot program determined whether a new source of desalinated potable water would adversely affect the water quality of the existing treated water supply. IMPACT: The City of Santa Cruz undertook a comprehensive pilot

plant test program from 2008 to 2009 to evaluate alternative treatment systems for a seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination plant and to analyze the water quality of potable water produced from the seawater offshore of Santa Cruz. Based on the Pilot Study Report and subsequent evaluation conducted for the Preliminary Design Report, the pre-treatment process chosen would consist of rapid mixing, dissolved air flotation (DAF) units and pressurized microfiltration/ultrafiltration (MF/UF) membranes. This pretreatment process was selected because it is the most reliable under all anticipated water quality conditions. 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


would be used to remove dissolved salts and other impurities. Reverse osmosis involves forcing water at very high pressures through a series of membranes with pore sizes small enough to exclude salts and other 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 plant would meet all regulatory drinking water standards. Compliance monitoring required of all public water systems would ensure this.

GROWTH FIND OUT MORE IN THE EIR

Section 6, Growth

OVERVIEW: Typically, a proposed project is considered growth-inducing

if it encourages growth or a concentration of population in excess of 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. ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN FEATURES • SWRO membrane configuration would meet water quality goals

while minimizing system energy requirements

The proposed project would supply water only to meet existing and proposed projected shortfalls due to growth already planned and approved and due to changed water conditions (requirements for increased stream flows for fish, seawater intrusion into groundwater supplies, global warming, etc).

MITIGATION MEASURES

None required

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

None required MITIGATION MEASURES

None required

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 during the development of the proposed project or were raised from the comments submitted during the scoping process for this EIR. These 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

The City Council and District Board will weigh all the information on these site alternatives to ultimately pick one final intake site and one final desalination plant site.


Aptos Pump Station Upgrade

OVERVIEW RAILROA

D

Ú 3

A-3

A-1

B

TU T U CITY OF SANTA CRUZ WATER SERVICE AREA

A-3

SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT SERVICE AREA

PROSPECT HEIGHTS

Ú 3

SOQUEL

C

A-1

Aptos Pump Station Upgrade 2.5 miles to the southeast (see inset above)

A

A-2

DR

E PARK AV

MAIN ST

41ST AVE

Ú 3 McGregor Pump Station Upgrade

DGES DR NATURAL BRI

SOQUEL DR

Morrissey Pump Station Upgrade

PACIFIC

OCEAN

Desalination Plant Site Alternatives A-1

POTENTIAL STAGING AREA

A-2

New Brighton State Beach

A-3 Assessor's Parcel Boundary 2005 IWP Program EIR-Identified Desalination Plant Sites (shown only on overview)

Pacific Ocean

Potable Water Pipeline Alignments Morrissey PS to DeLaveaga Tanks - Morrissey Alignment Option

T U

DeLaveaga Tanks

Ú 3

Pump Station (PS)

Morrissey PS to DeLaveaga Tanks - Trevethan Alignment Option

Intertie location at Soquel Dr

DeLaveaga Tanks to City-District Intertie

Soquel Creek Water District Service Area Boundary

City-District Intertie to McGregor PS

´ 0

0.5

intentional blank line

intentional blank line

Ú 3

1

y Ba

SI-18

Ú 3 Sa

nt a

St

Cr uz

Mission St Extn

Woodrow Ave

e Almar Av

Swift St

Natural Bridges Dr

Shaffer Rd

Antonelli Pond

A-3

M

un ic i

pa l

W

ha r

f

e

Av Delaware

Ú 3

SI-9 SI-17

A-2

y Oxford Wa

Ú 3 Modest

Wanzer St

o Ave

Sw

an ton

Blv d

Natural Bridges State Beach

Ú 3

Ú 3

JUNCTION STRUCTURE (EXISTING)

Ú 3

SI-5

0

200

400

MAIN MAP SCALE IN FEET

Imagery source: Microsoft Bing Maps

Desalination Plant Site Alternatives City of Santa Cruz and Soquel Creek Water District scwd2 Regional Seawater Desalination Project

Figure 4-4 Desalination Plant Site Alternatives

intentional blank line

intentional blank line

A wide range of desalination-related alternatives were considered during the development of the proposed project or were raised during the scoping process for this EIR. STUDIES AND REPORTS THAT IDENTIFIED COMPONENT ALTERNATIVES:

SI-4 SI-14

´

AVE DELAWARE

Figure 4-5 City-District Intertie System Area

City-District Intertie System Area

Ú A-1 3

1

Base map source: Microsoft Bing Maps

City of Santa Cruz and Soquel Creek Water District scwd2 Regional Seawater Desalination Project

US HWY

See Figure 4-2 for Brine Discharge Pipeline Alternatives, Raw Water Transfer Pipeline Alternatives, and Seawater Intake Alternatives in this area. Actual locations of these features will depend on which plant site is ultimately selected.

SCALE IN MILES

City of Santa Cruz Water Service Area Boundary

EXISTING WASTE WATER TREATMENT FACILITY

´

A-2

SI-16 SI-7

Appendix I: Seawater Intake Facility Conceptual Design Report Appendix K: Site Selection for Seawater Desalination Treatment Plant

Existing Waste Water Treatment Facility (WWTF) Effluent 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 Raw Water Transfer Pipeline Alternatives

Ú 3

Seawater Intake (SI) Alternatives; includes pump station (PS), intake pipeline, and intake structure

City of Santa Cruz and Soquel Creek Water District

scwd Regional Seawater Desalination Project Desalination System Area intentional blank line 2

A-1 A-2 A-3

Appendix AA: Intake Alternatives - Review and Status of Subsurface Intakes

´

Desalination Plant Site Alternatives

0

1,000

2,000

Appendix BB: Desalination Plant Hydraulic Modeling and Analysis

FEET Base map source: Microsoft Bing Maps

Figure 4-3 Desalination System Area

Appendix CC: Comparison of Desalination Technologies Appendix DD: Additional Seawater Reverse Osmosis Brine Disposal Options

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, an EIR is required to describe and evaluate a reasonable range of alternatives to the proposed project that meet most of the proposed project’s objectives while avoiding or substantially lessening any significant environmental impacts from the project. A number of alternatives to the proposed project are evaluated in detail in the Draft EIR, some of which qualify as feasible alternatives under CEQA, and many of which were considered because of community comments received during scoping. ALTERNATIVES NOT CONSIDERED IN THE DRAFT EIR: Several alternatives

were considered for the proposed project or were reviewed as a result of scoping comments received, but were eliminated from further analysis. These included alternatives such as: more groundwater, reservoirs, off-stream diversion, reclamation/recycled water, and District-only desalination within the District’s service area. Many of these alternatives were considered by the City during preparation of the IWP and District during preparation of the IRP. In general these alternatives were eliminated because they did not meet most of the proposed project objectives, were found to be infeasible, and/or did not substantially lessen or avoid the significant environmental effects of the proposed project. A discussion of the eliminated alternatives and the reasons for eliminating them from further consideration is included in the Draft EIR (see SECTION 8.2). Under CEQA, “feasible” means “capable of being accomplished in a successful manner within a reasonable period of time, taking into account economic, environmental, social, and technological factors.”

24

Alternatives to the Proposed Project

ALTERNATIVES CONSIDERED IN DETAIL IN THE DRAFT EIR: Eight alternatives to the proposed project are evaluated in detail in the Draft EIR, including the required “No Project Alternative.” The alternatives include: •

CITY NO PROJECT: The City would continue its current water

supply practices with its current facilities and the proposed project would not be constructed. The City’s existing Water Shortage Contingency Plan would be implemented to meet water supply shortages. •

DISTRICT NO PROJECT:The District would continue to rely solely on

groundwater from the Purisima and Aromas Red Sands aquifers in the Soquel-Aptos area and the proposed project would not be constructed. The District’s existing Water Shortage Contingency Plan would be implemented to meet water supply shortages as needed. •

CITY-ONLY DESALINATION: A desalination plant and related

facilities would be constructed and operated only by the City. •

DISTRICT-ONLY DESALINATION: A desalination plant and related

facilities would be constructed and operated only by the District. •

DESALINATION PLUS DIRECT POTABLE REUSE (DPR) PILOT: This

alternative includes the proposed project along with a small direct potable reuse (DPR) pilot system at the proposed desalination plant site. An opportunity exists to study the feasibility of incorporating DPR into the long-term water supply portfolios of the City and District. Should regulations change in the future to allow for DPR, the seawater desalination plant could potentially be transitioned to a DPR facility.


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. •

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 alternative include: mandatory water rationing programs and water exchanges with the City. DISTRICT

PACKAGE:

The following table highlights the attributes of each alternative including the cost, ability to meet the proposed project objectives, amount of potable water produced, and ability to reduce the significant impacts of the proposed project (see SECTION 8.3 for further information).

“We often get asked the question, ‘What about more conservation and water transfers instead of the desal project?’ The City and District Package Alternatives address this question and the Draft EIR includes evaluation of these alternatives in detail.” —Melanie Mow Schumacher, scwd2 Public Outreach Coordinator

Alternatives to the Proposed Project

25


COMPARISON ANALYSIS OF THE ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED PROJECT ALTERNATIVE

DOES ALT MEET PROJECT OBJECTIVES? City No

Proposed Project

Yes

District Partial

No

City No Project

District No Project

District-only Desalination

Yes

DOES ALTERNATIVE CAUSE OTHER POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS?

City

District

MGY

AFY

MGY

AFY

Alternatives to the Proposed Project

APPROXIMATE COSTS

Capital Costs (million $)

Annualized Unit Cost/ ($ per AF)

NA

NA

Up to 910

Up to 2,800

490910

1,5002,800

$115

$3,500-4,300

YES

YES

0

0

NA

NA

NA

NA

Alternative would avoid most of the environmental impacts of the construction and operation of the proposed project.

Alternative would hinder the City’s ability to commit to or implement stream flows associated with a HCP and, therefore, could result in continued 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, and treatment.

YES

YES

NA

NA

0

0

NA

NA

Alternative would avoid most of the environmental impacts of the construction and operation of the proposed project.

Alternative would result in continued unavoidable impacts related to groundwater overdraft. The alternative would also result in adverse impacts related to the District’s water supply, including availability, distribution, and treatment.

SOMEWHAT

NO

0

$108

$3,300-5,200

Alternative would result in similar environmental impacts as the proposed project.

Up to 2,800

0

Alternative would result in similar environmental impacts as the proposed 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.

Up to 910

NO

NO

0

0

$3,300-3,700

Alternative would result in similar environmental impacts as the proposed project.

1,5002,800

$107

Alternative would result in similar environmental impacts as the proposed project.

490910

* See Section 8.3, Alternatives to the Proposed Project (Table 8.3-22) for detailed footnotes and sources for this table.

26

AMOUNT OF SUPPLEMENTAL WATER SUPPLIED BY ALTERNATIVE

Partial

City-only Desalination

DOES ALTERNATIVE REDUCE POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF PROPOSED PROJECT?


ALTERNATIVE

DOES ALTERNATIVE MEET PROJECT OBJECTIVES? City No

Regional Recycled Water for Irrigation Alternative

District Package

DOES ALTERNATIVE CAUSE OTHER POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS?

Partial

No

Yes

City

SOMEWHAT

YES

Alternative would avoid any marinerelated impacts, as no construction or operational activities would occur in the marine environment. Other impacts would be similar to proposed project as the City’s wastewater treatment plant would need to be upgraded and a new separate recycled water distribution system would need to be built.

Given that the Alternative would not provide adequate water, it would result in continued unavoidable impacts related to groundwater overdraft and would hinder the City’s ability to commit to or implement stream flows associated with a HCP and therefore could result in continued unavoidable impacts on listed anadromous fish and fisheries habitat. The alternative would also result in adverse impacts related to the City’s and District’s water supplies, including availability, distribution, and treatment.

NO

NO

Alternative would result in similar Alternative would result in similar environmental environmental impacts as the proposed impacts as the proposed project. project.

District

SOMEWHAT

YES

Alternative would avoid any marinerelated impacts, as no construction or operational activities would occur in the marine environment. Other impacts would be somewhat reduced in certain categories as only the CityDistrict intertie system would need to be constructed.

Given that the Alternative would not provide adequate water, it would hinder the City’s ability to commit to or implement stream flows associated with a HCP and, therefore, could result in continued 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, and treatment.

SOMEWHAT

POTENTIALLY

Alternative would avoid any marinerelated impacts, as no construction or operational activities would occur in the marine environment. Other impacts would be somewhat reduced in certain categories as only the CityDistrict intertie system would need to be constructed.

Given that the Alternative would not provide a guarantee that enough water could be provided for the District, it could result in continued unavoidable impacts related to groundwater overdraft, Overall, the effect of the Alternative on groundwater conditions is unknown.

APPROXIMATE COSTS

Capital Costs (million $)

Annualized Unit Cost/ ($ per AF)

MGY

AFY

MGY

AFY

305

950

80

250

$100

$5,100

Up to 910

Up to 2,800

490910

1,5002,800

$117

$3,500-4,300

200

610

NA

NA

$48 (Water Transfer)

$4,200 (Water Transfer)

NA

NA

Water Rationing

Water Rationing

590

$50 – 127

Partial ✕

AMOUNT OF SUPPLEMENTAL WATER SUPPLIED BY ALTERNATIVE

District

Proposed Project Plus DPR Pilot Alternative City Package

Yes

DOES ALT REDUCE POTENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF PROPOSED PROJECT?

1,800

(Total Program Costs to District)

Water Transfer

Water Transfer

0-110

$48

0-340

$1,700 $5,500

$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 review before any decisions are made about the proposed project. The public has the opportunity to provide formal comments on the Draft EIR during the public review period and at public hearings as noted on page 30. Following the close of the public comment period, the project team will respond to comments submitted, make any necessary revisions to the EIR and then publish a Final EIR. The Final EIR will also be available in advance of consideration of EIR certification at the locations identified on page 30 and on the City’s and District’s websites. Upon completion of the Final EIR, the City Council and District Board of Directors (the Lead Agencies under CEQA) may consider certification 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 formally acknowledge that the EIR has been prepared in full compliance with CEQA and adequately addresses the environmental effects of a proposed project.

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 City Council and the District Board of Directors are required to consider the information in the Final EIR, along with any other relevant information, in making their decisions about the proposed project, and, if they choose to approve a proposed project, to make findings regarding each significant effect identified in the EIR. CEQA also requires that all feasible measures be considered to mitigate any identified significant effects. If no feasible mitigation measures are available, then the lead agencies must also consider feasible alternatives to the proposed project that would lessen any identified significant effects that cannot be mitigated. If no feasible mitigation measures or alternatives exist to avoid significant environmental effects, then that must be explained in the findings. The lead agencies are also responsible for preparing and implementing a program to monitor and report on mitigation measures, to ensure that mitigation measures identified in the EIR are carried out. In some 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.


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 60 day period, beginning on May 13, 2013, and concluding on July 15 2013. CEQA only requires a 45 day public review period for Draft EIRs submitted to the State Clearinghouse for review (PRC Section 21091), however given the public interest in the proposed project, the lead agencies have decided to provide a longer comment period of 60 calendar days.

Two public meetings will be held to inform the public about the Draft EIR and to receive written and oral comments on the adequacy of the information present in the Draft EIR. Two meetings are being held in order to accommodate both agency personnel, who typically work during daylight hours on weekdays, and the public at large, for whom evening or night meetings are typically more convenient. The same 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

Heidi Luckenbach, scwd Desalination Program Coordinator City of Santa Cruz, Water Department 212 Locust Street, Suite C Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Email: hluckenbach@cityofsantacruz.com 2

Written comments can be submitted until 5PM, July 15, 2013.

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/PageProject-phases_EIR_Reports_Docs.php. The Draft EIR will also be available for public review during the 60 day comment period at the following locations:

30

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 Commenting on the Draft EIR

1

2

JUNE 3, 2013 AT SEACLIFF INN 7500 Old Dominion Court Aptos, CA 95003

12:00 PM – 2:30 PM

JULY 1, 2013 AT FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH 900 High Street Santa Cruz, CA 95060

6:30 PM – 9:00 PM


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.

TIMELINE WINTER 2010:

SUMMER 2013–WINTER 2013:

• Release NOP/IS • Scoping period

• Respond to comments • Prepare Final EIR

SCOPE

2008 SPRING 2008–FALL 2010: INFORM

2009

• Community Information Meetings • Operated Pilot Plant • Conducted environmental and technical studies

32

Next Steps

2010

2011

RESPOND

2012

SPRING 2011–SUMMER 2013: EVALUATE • Complete environmental and technical studies • Prepare and circulate Draft EIR • Public Hearings

2013

2014

WINTER 2013– FALL 2014: CONSIDER

• Final EIR • Consider EIR Certification • Consider project approval • City of Santa Cruz Vote


PROJECT APPROVAL AND PERMITTING FEDERAL AGENCIES

STATE AGENCIES

REGIONAL AND LOCAL AGENCIES

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

California Coastal Commission

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

California State Lands Commission

Regional Water Quality Control Board (Central Coast Region)

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Marine Fisheries Service

State Water Resources Control Board

Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

City of Santa Cruz

California Department of Public Health

Soquel Creek Water District

NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary 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 species that are listed as threatened or endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. The federal and state oversight agencies for endangered and threatened fish species that occupy the rivers and streams that the City of Santa Cruz relies on for 80 percent of its water supply, are requiring the City to reduce surface water withdrawals, pursuant to a pending HCP, for protection of steelhead and coho salmon.

COMPONENT ALTERNATIVES:There are four basic functional components

of the proposed seawater desalination project: (1) seawater intake; (2) pretreatment and salt removal through reverse osmosis filtration; (3) disposal of by-products including brine and solids that are removed in the pretreatment process; and (4) conveyance and delivery of the product water to existing City and District water distribution system. Alternative 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 potentially feasible component alternatives are identified, the intent of the EIR is to evaluate each at a sufficient level of detail such that any combination of components could be identified and considered by the City and District for approval. Ultimately, only one seawater intake site and one plant site would be selected. DIRECT POTABLE REUSE (DPR): DPR refers to the introduction of purified

water, derived from municipal wastewater, directly into a municipal water supply system after extensive treatment and monitoring to assure that strict water quality requirements are met at all times. ENTRAINMENT: Entrainment is the passage of planktonic organisms

IMPINGEMENT: Impingement is the entrapment of fish and invertebrates

on seawater intake screens. INDIRECT POTABLE REUSE (IPR): IPR is where highly purified recycled

water is purposefully introduced into an untreated drinking water supply source, such as groundwater in an aquifer or surface water in a large reservoir. INTEGRATED RESOURCES PLAN (IRP): The Soquel Creek Water District’s

IRP is a long-term water plan with a goal of protecting and recovering the District’s groundwater resources, through a diversified strategy emphasizing:

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;

Supplemental supply development.

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.” 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 for growth planned through 2030. The IWP includes investigations and strategies related to:

refers to the proposed City of Santa Cruz and Soquel Creek Water District (scwd2) Regional Seawater Desalination Project. PILOT PLANT: From March 2008 through April 2009, scwd2 conducted a

Water demand projections;

Water conservation programs;

comprehensive pilot plant program at UCSC’s Long Marine Laboratory to 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 in the EIR.

MITIGATION AND MONITORING PROGRAM: If mitigation measures are

identified in an Environmental Impact Report to reduce or eliminate potential environmental impacts associated with a proposed project, the lead agency is required to implement and adopt mitigation measures. In order to ensure compliance, a mitigation and monitoring program must be formulated, adopted, and implemented. NET CARBON NEUTRAL: A commitment by the City and District whereby a

combination of project design and GHG reduction commitments provide for the avoidance of a net increase in GHG emissions above existing or baseline levels. The intent of a net carbon neutral objective is to avoid any potential adverse effects of the proposed project on climate change. NPDES PERMIT: A permit issued under the program the National Pollutant

Discharge Elimination System, as authorized by the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). NPDES permits are required for any direct (e.g., pipeline) discharge to waters that are regulated under the CWA. NPDES permit coverage is also required for construction projects over a certain size.

REVERSE OSMOSIS: Reverse osmosis filtration involves forcing water

at very high pressures through a series of membranes with pore sizes small enough to exclude salts and other minerals, resulting in highly purified product water. SEAWATER INTRUSION: The movement of seawater into freshwater

aquifers (groundwater supplies), which can lead to contamination of drinking water sources. Seawater has a higher salt content than freshwater, and therefore is denser, giving it a higher water pressure that can displace freshwater in an aquifer. A common cause of seawater intrusion is pumping of freshwater from a groundwater basin faster than it can be recharged through rainfall or other recharge methods. WASTEWATER TREATMENT FACILITY (WWTF): The City of Santa Cruz

operates and maintains a regional wastewater treatment plant and 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

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Proposed scwd 2 Regional Seawater Desalination Project Community Guide www.scwd2desal.org This guide was printed on recycled paper with soy-based inks. Soquel Creek Water District 5180 Soquel Drive, Soquel CA

City of Santa Cruz Water Department 212 Locust Street, Suite C, Santa Cruz CA


Community Guide for the Proposed scwd2 Regional Seawater Desalination Project