Santa Cruz County Inspires Water Conservation as a Way of Life
Santa Cruz County relies heavily on local rainfall for their water supply. When the drought in California hit year three in 2014, the Water Conservation Coalition of Santa Cruz County knew it was crucial to ramp up water conservation outreach to its customers. Ecology Action is a key partner in the Water Conservation Coalition, which includes all seven of the local water districts in Santa Cruz County, as well as the County Water Resources Division and other groups who share a passion for water conservation and public education. Working closely with the Water Conservation Coalition and all of Santa Cruz County’s water districts, Ecology Action led a successful effort to drastically reduce water usage during the summer of 2014 and beyond.
Ecology Action designed and executed a plan to inspire Santa Cruz County to make water conservation a way of life, relieving water demand on rivers and wells far beyond the current drought. This water conservation campaign promises to have lasting effects for Santa Cruz County, well beyond the drought. Since the campaign’s start in May 2014, residents across all districts have taken part in the pledge, attended workshops, connected with Ecology Action staff at tabling events and taken advantage of rebates to improve their water usage at home and in their businesses. Although the drought has already drastically changed the state’s landscape and reminded everyone how reliant we are on rainfall for everyday life, it has also spurred community involvement and county-wide collaboration, a welcome silver lining.
Through the WaterSavingTips.org website and in-person outreach events, the campaign achieved its goal of five millions gallons per year in pledged water savings. This number is likely to go from pledged gallons to actual gallons saved due to the impressive effort from residents in each district. Californians have been asked statewide to voluntarily cut back their water usage by 20 percent, however, Santa Cruz County has been the only county in the state to have gone above and beyond that request, on average reducing water usage by 22 to 30 percent.