SCOTTS VALLEY — Dec. 1, 2015 — In preparation for a strong El Niño event that could bring major rainfall to the region this winter, Scotts Valley Water District is taking steps to ensure safe and reliable water service to customers during severe storm conditions.

Heavy rainfall and high winds often lead to power outages and debris that can affect the infrastructure of our groundwater system, including wells, booster pumps and stations, and reservoir tanks.

In December, the District will update its emergency response plan and conduct a full training for all operations staff to review roles and responsibilities during emergencies. The District is taking these specific steps now to safeguard against storm impacts:

  • Testing backup generator power to support wells and pump stations during an outage.
  • Ensuring battery backups at remote tank sites and booster stations will allow operation up to a week without power.
  • Ordering extra parts to prepare for the possibility of a high number of repairs to water mains and individual service lines.
  • Making sure all drainage is clear around tank sites and roads leading to District infrastructure.

“There has been a lot of talk about El Niño and the big storms,” said David McNair, District Operations Manager. “We’re working to ensure the district is prepared.”

Likewise, customers can protect their homes from El Niño conditions by:

  • Cleaning gutters and downspouts to prevent damage to your home’s roof, walls, foundation and landscapes.
  • Redirecting downspouts and/or capture rainwater. Rebates are available to redirect downspouts into landscapes, rain barrels or tanks.
  • Keeping street storm drains clear and preventing street flooding and creek and ocean pollution by removing leaves and debris.

Even though heavy rain is predicted this winter, how often it will rain is uncertain. There are many ways to capture rainwater to use on landscapes and gardens during dry periods and replenish our shared groundwater supply. Here are some efficient uses for rainwater:

  • Rain barrels and tanks: The District has doubled its rebate to 50 cents per gallon.
  • Rain gardens and swales: Divert downspouts to infiltrate rainwater onsite. The District offers a rebate of $40 each.
  • Pervious and permeable hardscapes: The District offers rebates of $1 per square foot to replace concrete and asphalt.

“Too much rain all at once can certainly pose challenges that we are prepared to handle,” said General Manager Piret Harmon. “But because our aquifer also really needs the rain, any precipitation that customers can capture for irrigation helps us address the ongoing challenge of overdraft in our aquifer.”

About Scotts Valley Water District

Scotts Valley Water District is a public agency providing water service over six square miles including most of the City of Scotts Valley and a portion of the unincorporated areas north of the city limits.

The community of Scotts Valley places a high value on livability, innovation and planning for the future. Scotts Valley Water District is proud to play a vital role in supporting those efforts by providing a reliable, sustainable, high- quality water supply.

Through partnership with our community, strategic investment in resources and pursuit of new ideas, Scotts Valley Water District is redefining its historic role in order to meet future challenges and turn them into opportunities. Learn more about Scotts Valley Water District at or