No drought surcharges to be enacted this year

The Scotts Valley Water District (SVWD) has established Stage 2 Water Supply Conditions, following a declaration by the Board of Directors that is based on data indicating a relatively dry year — Scotts Valley received about 5% of its normal rainfall.

Typically, such a declaration would activate drought surcharges, as well as a need to reduce water demand by 15 percent to reduce the draw on the groundwater aquifers. However, due to reduced water demand, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the District Board chose not to implement system wide water restrictions or specific demand reductions.

The District’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan stipulates a four-stage demand reduction plan, with the amount of rainfall in a given year or series of years being the basis for defining the stages of action.

The District has experienced a noticeable decline in water demand since the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order was issued by the County of Santa Cruz in early March. While residential water use in the Scotts Valley Water District service are has remained relatively steady since the start of the pandemic, commercial, industrial and institutional water use declined by 40 percent and is expected to remain low for the foreseeable future.

“Although the dry rain year has an impact on groundwater levels, we have experienced an unexpected reduction in water demand due to the novel coronavirus,” District Manager Piret Harmon said. “We are pleased we can maintain the same level of high-quality, reliable water service to our customers without adding the stress of additional costs or restrictions during this unprecedented time.”

District crews have upgraded approximately 85 percent of all water meters to new intelligent meters (i-Meters), providing the vast majority of District customers the ability easily view, understand and manage their water use through the WaterSmart customer web portal on the District website.

The District continues to encourage the efficient use of water. Please limit outdoor irrigation to three days a week before 10 a.m. or after 5 p.m. The District also offers several rebates for installation of water-efficient devices and landscaping. Learn more.

Scotts Valley Water District is a community-owned public agency that delivers a sustainable, reliable high-quality water service in an environmentally responsible and financially sound manner. The District provides water service over six square miles including most of the City of Scotts Valley and a portion of the unincorporated area north of the city limits. Like the community it serves, Scotts Valley Water District places a high value on livability, innovation and adaptability. Through partnership with the 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 at, on Facebook and on Instagram.