The Santa Margarita Groundwater Agency (SMGWA) will install seven new monitoring wells in the San Lorenzo Valley and Scotts Valley, part of an ambitious plan to increase the current understanding and to assess future conditions of the local groundwater resources that serve the area. The network of wells is central to the agency’s monitoring program that the SMGWA and its member agencies envision to help sustainably manage groundwater in the system of aquifers that comprise the Santa Margarita Basin.

Drilling the new monitoring wells will begin Monday, May 22. Drilling and well construction are expected to take two to four days at each site, and the entire monitoring network will be constructed by the end of July. All work is anticipated to occur Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Appropriate traffic control measures will be in place during construction. Residents near the new wells are being notified individually about the construction work.

The SMGWA — the local groundwater sustainability agency (GSA) formed to meet a state mandate — adopted a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (Plan) in 2021 that was approved by the State Department of Water Resources earlier this spring. The Plan will guide the long-term management of the groundwater basin to ensure a reliable and resilient water supply for community needs and the environment.

The monitoring wells will range in depth from 80 to 300 feet. The wells will not produce any water for use by water agencies or other customers. New monitoring well locations will include:

  • Bean Creek Road near mile marker .94
  • Nelson Road near mile marker 0.88
  • Nelson Road, north of the intersection with Lockhart Gulch Road
  • Bahr Drive
  • Quail Hollow Road near mile marker 0.31
  • Love Creek Road near mile marker 1.1
  • Randall Morgan Sandhills Preserve, at the former Geyer Quarry off Geyer Road

The Santa Margarita Basin is a source of water for Scotts Valley Water District, San Lorenzo Valley Water District, over a dozen small water systems and approximately 800 private domestic wells. Additionally, the groundwater table influences surface water flow in the San Lorenzo River Watershed, which is a primary water source for the San Lorenzo Valley and the City of Santa Cruz, and supports important environmental habitat. Each April, SMGWA issues an Annual Report on the condition of the basin.

The Santa Margarita Groundwater Agency (SMGWA) is a joint powers authority comprised of the San Lorenzo Valley Water District, Scotts Valley Water District and the County of Santa Cruz, to oversee the groundwater management activities in the Santa Margarita Groundwater Basin in Santa Cruz County, California. The agency was established in 2017. The Board of Directors of the SMGWA includes two board members from each of the member agencies, one from the City of Scotts Valley, one from the City of Santa Cruz, one from the Mount Hermon Association Community Water System and two well owner representatives. With input from community members, and groundwater scientists, the SMGWA developed its Plan to achieve groundwater sustainability by 2042 per state requirements. Learn more at, on Facebook and on Instagram.