This fact sheet has been prepared and is being distributed by the Community Water Coalition.
1. In July 2008 (with no public notice or opportunity for public comment), the Santa Cruz City Council voted in a closed session to enter into a “Comprehensive Settlement Agreement” with the University of California.
2. Among other things, the Council promised to seek approval to expand the City Sphere of Influence, and to deliver water outside its current water service boundaries. LAFCO has the final say.
3. Approval of this plan would provide 152 million gallons of water a year to a 374-acre area that has no legal claim on City water at this time.
4. Approval of the plan will permit UCSC to construct over 3,000,000 square feet of new buildings in what is now mostly a natural reserve area.
5. Before this plan can be officially considered by LAFCO, state law requires that an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) be prepared and considered. Such an EIR has now been prepared by the City.
6. The EIR on the proposed plan says that there would be a significant adverse environmental impact that cannot be mitigated.
7. What is that impact? That impact is the reduction of the City’s ability to provide water to the City’s existing customers, and to respect the requirements of the natural environment, in drought years.
8. Under state law, the City is not permitted to “certify” the EIR unless it makes a “Statement of Overriding Considerations,” outlining its reasons for overriding the significant adverse impacts just mentioned.
9. The City staff is recommending that the City Council adopt such a “Statement of Overriding Considerations,” to allow the UCSC plan to go forward. The Council will act on August 3rd.
10. The required statement would be an official finding by the City Council that it is “more important” to provide water for the proposed growth of UCSC, as outlined above, than to protect the water supply of its current customers during drought periods.
11. If you agree that the proposed growth of UCSC is more important than maintaining protection of your water supply during drought periods, then NO PROBLEM!
12. If you don’t agree that supporting UCSC growth is more important than protecting your water supply, and the natural environment, in times of drought, then you need to speak out at the public hearing scheduled on Tuesday, August 3rd at 7:00 p.m.
Here’s What Former City Manager Dick Wilson said in his May 17, 2010 Budget Message:
We have sixty years of rainfall data, which are meaningless. In a modest drought, such as 1976–77, we are in trouble. In a severe drought, we are in deep trouble. It is not a stretch to imagine banning all outdoor water use and closing hotels and restaurants and other businesses in time of severe drought. Moreover, we have an over-stretched system in the best of times. We have an old water system. We have inadequate supply.