Water Use at UCSC

    Where does UCSC's Water Come From?

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    The UC Santa Cruz campus receives potable water through nine points of connection to the City of Santa Cruz Water District (SCWD) system. SCWD pumps potable water to three consecutive in-line reservoirs at separate elevations ranging from 400 feet to 1,113 feet at a point in the northern campus. A campus water system then distributes water to campus facilities in eight separate pressure zones.  

    The SCWD currently has four water supply sources: 1) surface water diversions from three creeks and one natural spring on the Santa Cruz County North Coast; 2) surface water diversions from San Lorenzo River; 3) surface water from Loch Lomond Reservoir; 4) groundwater extracted from the Purisima Formation by the Live Oak well system. Ninety-four percent of SCWD's water supply comes from local surface waters. The main source of SCWD’s water, the San Lorenzo River, makes up 59% of the supply. Other flowing sources include Majors Creek, Laguna Creek, and Liddel Spring, which account for 35% of supply. The only reservoir for the City of Santa Cruz is Loch Lomond Reservoir, which holds 2.8 billion gallons. The remaining 6% is produced from the Live Oak wells. 

    The SCWD provides water to 95,251 customers through approximately 24,534 service connections in the City of Santa Cruz, the campus, a portion of the unincorporated area of Santa Cruz County, and a small portion of the City of Capitola. The SCWD water service area covers approximately 20 square miles. In Fiscal Year 2015, UC Santa Cruz's water usage represented approximately 6.5% of the total SCWD service area demand. 

    (Source: UC Santa Cruz Water Action Plan 2017)

    Image Credits: Santa Cruz Sentinel - UC Santa Cruz Energy Services staff installs a cellular water meter during the most recent drought.