SLV Water District Announces Watershed Education Grants
Grant Program Supports Districts Healthy Watershed Focus
BOULDER CREEK, CA – The San Lorenzo Valley Water District (SLVWD) announced it has awarded seven grants totaling $17,500 to local organizations as part of its Education Grant Program. The mission of the Education Grant Program is to provide funding for educational and other projects that enhance the understanding of the San Lorenzo River watershed or improve the watershed’s environmental health.
Awardees were selected by the SLVWD’s 5-member Education Program Advisory Commission, which was established in 2003. Each year since 2004, the District has budgeted from $15,000 to $17,500 to support the grant program. Grants are focused on classroom watershed education for students; outdoor watershed education, such as educational hikes or science camps; or community/public education.
“We’re very excited to support these worthy organizations and programs that are dedicated to supporting our local watershed in various important ways,” said District Manager Brian Lee. “As we work to confront the short-term and long-term impacts of climate change, now more than ever we have a duty to protect the health of our local watershed.”
After careful review and evaluation by the Education Advisory Commission, and approval by the SLVWD Board of Directors, the following organizations and projects were awarded with a grant:
- Boulder Creek Elementary Parents Club: Fifth grade science camp
- San Lorenzo Valley Elementary Bobcat Club: Water and environmental awareness through science literacy: K-3 science enrichment at San Lorenzo Valley Elementary School
- Coastal Watershed Council: Watershed Rangers afterschool program
- San Lorenzo Valley Elementary School: Family science night
- Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History: San Lorenzo River walks
- San Lorenzo Valley Middle School: San Lorenzo Outdoor Preserve for Education (SLOPE)
- Fred and Roberta McPherson: Video production, “Getting to Know Our Watershed – The Turkey Foot – Where Boulder Creek & Bear Creek Meet the SLR”
Blue Tank Removal in Manana Woods
The San Lorenzo Valley Water District will replace a 65,000-gallon, bolted-steel water storage tank in the Mañana Woods area of the District. The decision to replace the tank, known as the “Blue Tank,” was made following the District’s routine inspection of the tank. The inspection revealed the tank has experienced extensive corrosion. The tank also suffers from previously identified buckling damage from the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. The combined condition of the corrosion and earthquake damage to the tank warrants immediate replacement. The tank has been emptied and taken offline. Water storage and supply has been shifted to the larger, 100,000-gallon Pasatiempo Tank located near Mañana Woods.
The new, bolted-steel tank will hold 65,000 gallons of water. In response to input from the community, the tank will be painted light brown. The steps in the process to install the new tank include removal of the current tank for recycling, geotechnical and structural review of the site and installation of the new tank. The project is estimated to cost approximately $100,000 and will be funded through the District’s general fund. Construction is estimated to be completed by the end of November 2017. The Blue Tank, named for its exterior color, was originally installed in the 1980s by the Mañana Woods Mutual Water Company, which was acquired by the San Lorenzo Valley Water district in 2005.
Significant Progress Made on Bear Creek Road
SLVWD has made significant progress on the Bear Creek Road water main replacement project after several scheduled full closures of Bear Creek Road. Progress to date on the project includes installation of pipe and completion of pressure testing and tying the new water main into the existing main and backfilling the work site. The District is very thankful for motorists’ patience during this important work. The closures were part of a project with the County of Santa Cruz Department of Public Works to replace a water main on Bear Creek Road that was damaged when the road was washed out by heavy rains in January. Immediately after the storm damage occurred, SLVWD crews rerouted water service in the area through a bypass line to ensure customers had access to water. The District has applied for FEMA funds to assist with the cost of repairs.
Rate Restructuring Meetings
Proposal would increase rates for most customers, eliminate existing drought surcharge for all, and fund capital projects.
“This proposal is about preparing our water system for the future that will include an ongoing need to upgrade and replace equipment, as well as respond to the impacts of climate change,” said Brian Lee, SLVWD District Manager. “Compared to more urban areas, our rural district has fewer customers to help shoulder expenses related to each mile of pipeline. We provide water to about 8,000 connections spread over 15,290 acres, served by approximately 140 miles of pipeline. Today’s water rates cover current operational costs, but not capital improvements or reserves for future unforeseen expenses.”
To increase public understanding of the proposed rate plan and help get questions answered, the District will hold public meetings (all locations tentative and are subject to change):
- August 17 @ 6:30 pm, SLV Water District, 13057 Hwy 9, Boulder Creek: Q&A discussion with SLVWD Board of Directors
- September 7 @ 12:00 pm, Boulder Creek Fire Station, 13230 Central Ave., Boulder Creek: brown bag lunch Q&A discussion with SLVWD staff
- September 21 @ 6:00 pm, Highlands Park Senior Center, 8500 Hwy 9, Ben Lomond: Public Hearing